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The Introduction to the work, with some general ac- 
count of its design, - - - - - - 13 

A prayer for the success of it, in promoting the rise 
and progress of religion, - - - - -21 


The careless sinner awakened, - - - -24 
The meditation of a sinner, who was once thoughtless, 
but begins to be awakened, - - - - 32 


The awakened sinner urged to immediate considera- 
tion, and cautioned against delay, - - - 35 

A prayer for one who is tempted to delay applying to 
religion, though under some conviction of its im- 
portance, -------41 


The sinner arraigned and convicted, - - - 43 
The confession of a sinner, convinced in general of 
his guilt, 52 


The sinner stripped of his vain pleas, - - - 54 
The meditation of a convinced sinner, giving up his 

vain pleas before God, 63 





The sinner sentenced, ------ 65 

The reflection of a sinner, struck with the terror of 
his sentence, - - - - - - -71 


The helpless state of the sinner under condemnation, 74 
The lamentation of a sinner in this miserable con- 
dition, 79 


News of salvation by Christ brought to the convinced 

and condemned sinner, - - - - - 81 
The sinner's reflection on this good news, - - 87 


A more particular account of the way by which this 
salvation is to be obtained, - - - - 89 

The sinner deliberating on the expediency of falling 
in with this method of salvation, - - - 96 


The sinner seriously urged and entreated to accept of 
salvation in this way, - - - - - 99 

The sinner yielding to these entreaties, and declaring 
his acceptance of salvation by Christ, - - 104 


A solemn address to those who will not be persuaded 
to fall in with the design of the gospel, - - 106 

A compassionate prayer in behalf of the impenitent 
sinner, - - - - - - - -118 




An address to a soul so overwhelmed with a sense of 
the greatness of its sins, that it dares not apply 
itself to Christ with any hope of salvation, - - 121 

Reflection on the encouragement he has to do it, end- 
ing in an humble and earnest application to Christ 
for mercy, 125 


The doubting soul more particularly assisted in its 
inquiries as to the sincerity of its faith and repent- 
ance, .--.-..- 128 

The soul submitting to divine examination, the sin- 
cerity of its repentance and faith, - - - - 134 


A more particular view of the several branches of the 
Christian temper; by which the reader may be fur- 
ther assisted in judging what he is, and what he 
should endeavour to be, 136 

A review of the several branches of this temper in a 
scriptural prayer, 149 


The reader reminded how much he needs the assist- 
ance of the Spirit of God to form him to this tem- 
per, and what encouragement he has to expect 
it, - - - 152 

An humble supplication for the influences of divine 
grace to form and strengthen religion in the soul, 157 


The Christian convert warned of, and animated against 
those discouragements which he must expect to meet 
when entering on a religious course, - - - 160 



The soul, alarmed by a sense of these difficulties, 
committing itself to divine protection, - - 165 


The Christian urged to, and assisted in, an express 
act of self-dedication to the service of God, - 167 

An example of self-dedication ; or a solemn form of 
renewing our covenant with God, ... 170 

Together with an abstract of it, to be used with proper 
and requisite alterations. 175 


Of entering into church communion, by attendance 
upon the Lord's Supper, ----- 177 

A prayer for one who desires to attend, yet has some 
remaining doubts concerning his right to that solemn 
ordinance, - - - - - - - 182 


Some more particular directions for maintaining con- 
tinual communion with God, or being in his fear all 
the day long; in a letter to a pious friend, - - 185 

A serious view of death, proper to be taken as we lie 
down on our beds, - - - - - - 199 


A serious persuasive to such a method of spending 
our days, ------- 201 

A prayer suited to the state of a soul who longs to 
attain to such a life, 207 


A caution against various temptations, by which the 
young convert may be drawn aside from the course 
before recommended, 212 



The young convert's prayer for divine protection from 
the danger of these snares, - - - -221 


The case of a spiritual decay and languor in religion, 223 
A prayer for one under spiritual decays, - - 230 


The sad case of a relapse into known and deliberate 
sin, after solemn acts of dedication to God, and 
some progress made in religion, - - - 234 

A prayer for one who has fallen into gross sin, after 
religious resolutions and engagements, - - 241 


The case of the Christian under the hidings of God's 
face, 245 

An humble supplication for one under the hidings of 
God's face, 256 


The Christian struggling under great and heavy afflic- 
tion, 259 

An address to God under the pressure of heavy af- 
fliction, 263 


The Christian assisted in examining his growth in 
grace, 267 

The Christian breathing earnestly after growth in 
grace, 275 


The advanced Christian reminded of the mercies of 
God, and exhorted to the exercise of habitual love 
to him, and joy in him, 277 



An example of the genuine workings of his grateful 
joy in God, 283 


The established Christian urged to exert himself for 
purposes of usefulness, ----- 287 

The Christian breathing after more extensive useful- 
ness, 297 


The Christian rejoicing in the views of death and 
judgment, ------- 299 

The meditation and prayer of a Christian, whose 
heart is warmed with these prospects, - - 307 


The Christian honouring God by his dying behaviour, 310 
A meditation or prayer suited to the case of a dying 
Christian, 318 


The several hints given in the first chapter of this 
Treatise, which contains a particular plan of the 
design, render it unnecessary to introduce it with a 
long preface. My much-honoured friend, Dr. Watts, 
had laid the scheme, especially of the former part. 
But as those indispositions, with which (to the 
unspeakable grief of the churches) God has been 
pleased to exercise him, had forbid his hopes of being 
able to add this to his many labours of love to im- 
mortal souls, he was pleased, in a very affectionate 
and importunate manner, to urge me to undertake 
it. And I bless God, with my whole heart, not only 
that he hath carried me through this delightful task, 
(for such indeed I have found it,) but also that he 
hath spared that worthy and amiable person to see 
it accomplished, and given him strength and spirit 
to review so considerable a part of it. His appro- 
bation, expressed in stronger terms than modesty 
will permit me to repeat, encourages me to hope 
that it is executed in such a manner as may by 
the divine blessing, render it of some general ser- 
vice. And I the rather hope it will be so, as it now 
comes abroad into the world, not only with my own 
prayers and his, but also with those of many other 
pious friends, which I have been particularly careful 
to engage for its success. 

Into whatever hands this work may come, I must 
desire that, before any pass their judgment, they 



would please to read it through, that they may 
discern the connexion between one part of it and 
another. This I the rather request, because I have 
long observed, that Christians of different parties 
have been eagerly laying hold on particular parts of 
the system of divine truth, and have been contend- 
ing about them, as if each had been all; or, as if 
the separation of the members from each other, and 
from the head, were the preservation of the body 
instead of its destruction. They have been zealous 
to espouse the defence, and to maintain the honour 
and usefulness of each apart; whereas their honour 
as well as usefulness, seems to me to lie much in 
their connexion: and suspicions have often arisen 
betwixt the respective defenders of each, which have 
appeared as unreasonable and absurd, as if all the 
preparations for securing one part of a ship in a 
storm were to be censured as a contrivance to sink 
the rest. I pray God to give to all his ministers and 
people more and more of the spirit of wisdom, and 
of love, and of a sound mind ; and to remove far 
from us those mutual jealousies and animosities, 
which hinder our acting with that unanimity which 
is necessary in order to the successful carrying on 
our common warfare against the enemies of Chris- 
tianity. We may be sure these enemies will never 
fail to make their own advantage of our multiplied 
divisions and severe contests with each other. But 
they must necessarily lose both their ground and 
their influence, in proportion to the degree in which 
the energy of Christian principles is felt, to unite and 
transform the hearts of those by whom they are 

I have studied the greatest plainness of speech, 
that the lowest of my readers may, if possible, be 
able to understand every word; and I hope persons 


of a more elegant taste and refined education, will 
pardon what appeared to me so necessary a piece of 
charity. Such a care in practical writers, seems one 
important instance of that honouring all men, which 
our amiable and condescending religion teaches ; and 
I have been particularly obliged to my worthy pa- 
tron, for what he has done to shorten some of the 
sentences, and to put my meaning into plainer and 
more familiar words. Yet, I dare say, the world 
will not suspect it of having contracted any impro- 
priety or inelegance of language by passing through 
the hands of Dr. Watts. 

I must add one remark here, viz. That though I 
do in this book consider my reader as successively 
in a great variety of supposed circumstances, begin- 
ning with those of a thoughtless sinner, and leading 
him through several stages of conviction, terror, &c, 
as what may be previous to his sincerely accepting 
the gospel, and devoting himself to the service of 
God; yet I would by no means be thought to 
insinuate that every one who is brought to that 
happy resolution, arrives at it through those particu- 
lar steps, or feels agitations of mind equal, in any 
degree, to those I have described. Some sense of 
sin, and some serious and humbling apprehension 
of our danger and misery in consequence of it, must 
indeed be necessary, to dispose us to receive the grace 
of the gospel, and the Saviour who is there exhibited 
to our faith: but God is pleased sometimes to begin 
the work of his grace on the heart almost from the 
first dawning of reason, and to carry it on by such 
gentle and insensible degrees, that very excellent 
persons, who have made the most eminent attain- 
ments in the divine life, have been unable to recount 
any remarkable history of their conversion. And, 
so far as I can learn, this is most frequently the case 


with those of them who have enjoyed the benefit 
of a pious education, when it has not been succeeded 
by a vicious and licentious youth. God forbid, there- 
fore, that any should be so insensible of their own 
happiness as to fall into perplexity with relation to 
their spiritual state, for want of being able to trace 
such a rise of religion in their minds as it was neces- 
sary, on my plan, for me to describe and exemplify 
here. I have spoken my sentiments on this head so 
fully in the eighth of my sermons on Regeneration, 
that I think none who has read, and remembers the 
general contents of it, can be in danger of mistaking 
my meaning here. But as it is very possible this 
book may fall into the hands of many who have not 
read the other, and have no opportunity of consult- 
ing it, I thought proper to insert this caution in the 
preface to this ; and I am much obliged to that wor- 
thy and excellent person who kindly reminded me 
of the expediency of doing it. 

Philip Doddridge. 





That true religion is very rare, appears from comparing the nature 
of it with the lives and characters of men around us, 1, 2. The 
want of it is matter of just lamentation, 3. To remedy this evil 
is the design of the ensuing treatise, 4. To which, therefore, the 
author earnestly bespeaks the attention of the reader, as his own 
heart is deeply interested in it, 5, 6. A general plan of the work, 
of which the first fifteen chapters relate chiefly to the rise of re- 
ligion, and the remaining chapters to its progress, 7 — 12. The 
chapter concludes with a prayer for the success of the work. 

1. When we look around us with an attentive eye, 
and consider the characters and pursuits of men, we 
plainly see, that though, in the original constitution 
of their natures, they only, of all the creatures that 
dwell on the face of the earth, are capable of religion, 
yet many of them shamefully neglect it. And what- 
ever different notions people may entertain of what 
they call religion, all must agree in owning, that it is 
very far from being a universal thing. 

2. Religion, in its most general view, is such a 
sense of God on the soul, and such a conviction of 
our obligations to him, and of our dependence upon 
him, as shall engage us to make it our great care to 
conduct ourselves in a manner which we have rea- 


son to believe will be pleasing to him. Now, when 
we have given this plain account of religion, it is by- 
no means necessary that we should search among the 
savages of the African or American nations, to find 
instances of those who are strangers to it. When we 
view the conduct of the generality of people at home, 
in a Christian and Protestant nation, in a nation 
whose obligations to God have been singular, almost 
beyond those of any other people under heaven, will 
any one presume to say, that religion has a universal 
reign among us? Will any one suppose that it pre- 
vails in every life; that it reigns in every heart? 
Alas! the avowed infidelity, the profanation of the 
name and day of God, the drunkenness, the lewd- 
ness, the injustice, the falsehood, the pride, the pro- 
digality, the base selfishness, the stupid insensibility 
about the spiritual and eternal interests of themselves 
and others, which so generally appear among us, 
loudly proclaim the contrary. So that one would 
imagine, upon this view, that thousands and tens of 
thousands thought the neglect, and even the con- 
tempt of religion, a glory rather than a reproach. 
And where is the neighbourhood, where is the so- 
ciety, where is the happy family, consisting of any 
considerable number, in which, on a more exact ex- 
amination, we find reason to say, " Religion fills even 
this little circle?" There is, perhaps, a freedom from 
any gross and scandalous immoralities, an external 
decency of behaviour, an attendance on the outward 
forms of worship in public, and, here and there, in 
the family; yet amidst all this, there is nothing which 
looks like the genuine actings of the spiritual and 
divine life. There is no appearance of love to God, 
no reverence for his presence, no desire of his favour 
as the highest good: there is no cordial belief of the 
gospel of salvation; no eager solicitude to escape that 
condemnation which we have incurred by sin; no 
hearty concern to secure that eternal life which Christ 
has purchased and secured for his people, and which 
he freely promises to all who will receive him. Alas ! 
whatever the love of a friend, or even of a parent, 


can do ; whatever inclination there may be to hope 
all things, and believe all things, the most favoura- 
ble ; evidence to the contrary will force itself upon 
the mind, and extort the unwilling conclusion, that, 
whatever else may be amiable in this dear friend, 
in that favourite child, " religion dwells not in his 

3. To a heart that firmly believes the gospel, and 
views persons and things in the light of eternity, this 
is one of the most mournful considerations in the 
world. And indeed, to such a one, all the other 
calamities and evils of human nature appear trifles 
when compared with this, the absence of real reli- 
gion, and that contrariety to it, which reigns in so 
many thousands of mankind. Let this be cured, and 
all the other evils will easily be borne; nay, good 
will be extracted out of them: but if this continue, it 
"bringeth forth fruit unto death," Rom. vii. 5, and 
in consequence of it, multitudes, who share the en- 
tertainments of an indulgent Providence with us, and 
are at least allied to us by the bond of the same com- 
mon nature, must, in a few years, be swept away 
into utter destruction, and be plunged beyond re- 
demption " into everlasting burnings." 

4. I doubt not but that there are many, under 
the various forms of religious profession, who are 
not only lamenting this in public, if their office in life 
calls them to an opportunity of doing it, but are like- 
wise mourning before God in secret, under a sense 
of this sad state of things; and who can appeal to 
him that searches all hearts, as to the sincerity of 
their desires to revive the languishing cause of vital 
Christianity and substantial piety, and, among the 
rest, the author of this treatise, may with confidence 
say, it is this which animates him to the present 
attempt, in the midst of so many other cares and 
labours; for this, he is willing to lay aside many of 
those curious amusements in science which might 
suit his own private taste, and perhaps open a way 
to some reputation in the learned world : for this, he 
is willing to wave the laboured ornaments of speech, 


that he may, if possible, descend to the capacity of 
the lowest part of mankind : for this, he would en- 
deavour to convince the judgment, and to reach the 
heart, of every reader : and in a word, for this, with- 
out any dread of the name of an enthusiast, whoever 
may at random throw it out upon the occasion, he 
would, as it were, enter with you into your closet 
from day to day, and with all plainness and freedom, 
as well as seriousness, would discourse to you of the 
great things which he has learned from the Christian 
revelation, and on which he assuredly knows your 
everlasting happiness to depend: that if you hitherto 
have lived without religion, you may now be awa- 
kened to the consideration of it, and may be instruct- 
ed in its nature and importance; or that, if you 
are already, through divine grace, experimentally 
acquainted with it, you may be assisted to make a 
greater progress. 

5. But he earnestly entreats this favour of you, 
that, as it is plainly a serious business we are enter- 
ing upon, you would be pleased to give him a serious 
and an attentive hearing. He entreats that these 
addresses, and these meditations, may be perused at 
leisure, and be thought over in retirement; and that 
you would do him and yourself the justice to believe 
the representations which are here made, and the 
warnings which are here given, to proceed from sin- 
cerity and love ; from a heart which would not de- 
signedly give one moment's unnecessary pain to the 
meanest creature on the face of the earth, and much 
less to any human mind. If he be importunate, it is, 
because he at least imagines that there is just reason 
for it; and fears, lest amidst the multitudes who are 
undone by the utter neglect of religion, and among 
those who are greatly damaged for want of a more 
resolute and constant attention to it, this may be 
the case of some into whose hands this treatise may 

6. He is a barbarian, and deserves not to be called 
a man, who can look on the sorrows of his fellow- 
creatures without drawing out his soul unto them, 


and wishing, at least, that it were in the power of his 
hand to help them. Surely earth would be a heaven 
to that man who could go about from place to place, 
scattering happiness wheresoever he came, though it 
were only the body that he was capable of relieving, 
and though he could impart nothing better than the 
happiness of a mortal life. But the happiness rises 
in proportion to the nature and degree of the good 
which he imparts. Happy, are we ready to say, 
were those honoured servants of Christ, who in the 
early days of his church, were the benevolent and 
sympathizing instruments of conveying miraculous 
healing to those whose cases seemed desperate ; who 
poured in upon the blind and the deaf the pleasures 
of light and sound, and called up the dead to the 
powers of action and enjoyment. But this is an 
honour and happiness which it is not fit for God 
commonly to bestow on mortal men. Yet there 
have been in every age, and, blessed be his name, 
there still are those, whom he has condescended to 
make his instruments in conveying nobler and more 
lasting blessings than these to their fellow-creatures. 
Death has long since veiled the eyes, and stopped the 
ears of those who were the subjects of miraculous 
healing, and recovered his empire over those who 
were once recalled from the grave. But the souls 
who were prevailed on to receive the gospel, live for 
ever. God has owned the labours of his faithful 
ministers in every age to produce these blessed ef- 
fects; and some of them being dead, yet speak, Heb. 
xi. 4, with power and success in this important cause. 
Wonder not then if, living and dying, I be ambitious 
of this honour; and if my mouth be freely opened, 
where I can truly say, " My heart is enlarged," 2 
Cor. vi. 11. 

7. In forming my general plan, I have been soli- 
citous that this little treatise might, if possible, be 
useful to all its readers, and contain something suit- 
able to each. I will therefore take the man, and 
the Christian, in a great variety of circumstances. I 
will first suppose myself addressing one of the vast 


number of thoughtless creatures, who have hitherto 
been utterly unconcerned about religion; and will 
try what can be done, by all plainness and earnest- 
ness of address, to awaken him from this fatal lethar- 
gy, to a care, (chap. 2.) an affectionate and an imme- 
diate care about it, (chap. 3.) I will labour to fix a 
deep and awful conviction of guilt upon his con- 
science, (chap. 4.) and to strip him of his vain ex- 
cuses and his flattering hopes, (chap. 5.) I will read 
to him, oh ! that I could fix on his heart, that sen- 
tence, that dreadful sentence, which a righteous and 
an almighty God has denounced against him as a 
sinner; (chap. 6.) and endeavour to show him in how 
helpless a state he lies under this condemnation, as to 
any capacity he has of delivering himself, (chap. 7.) 
But I do not mean to leave any in so terrible a 
situation; I will joyfully proclaim the glad tidings 
of pardon and salvation by Christ Jesus our Lord, 
which is all the support and confidence of my own 
soul; (chap. 8.) and then I will give some general 
view of the way by which this salvation is to be ob- 
tained, (chap. 9.) urging the sinner to accept of it, as 
affectionately as I can, (chap. 10.) though nothing 
can be sufficiently pathetic, where, as in this matter, 
the life of an immortal soul is in question. 

S. Too probable it is, that some will, after all this, 
remain insensible ; and therefore, that their sad case 
may not encumber the following articles, I shall here 
take a solemn leave of them, (chap. 11.) and then 
shall turn and address myself as compassionately as 
I can, to a most contrary character ; I mean to a soul 
overwhelmed with a sense of the greatness of its sins, 
and trembling under the burden, as if there were no 
more hope for him in God; (chap. 12.) and that no- 
thing may be omitted which may give solid peace to 
the troubled spirit, I shall endeavour to guide its in- 
quiries as to the evidences of sincere repentance and 
faith, (chap. 13.) which will be further illustrated by 
a more particular view of the several branches of the 
Christian temper, such as may serve at once to assist 
the reader in judging what he is, and to show him 


what he should labour to be, (chap. 14.) This will 
naturally lead to a view of the need we have of the 
influences of the blessed Spirit to assist us in the im- 
portant and difficult work of the true Christian; and 
of the encouragement we have to hope for these 
divine assistances, (chap. 15.) In an humble depen- 
dence on which I shall then enter on the considera- 
tion of several cases, which often occur in the Chris- 
tian life, in which, particular addresses to the con- 
science may be requisite and useful. 

9. As some peculiar difficulties and discourage- 
ments attend the first entrance on a religious course, 
it will here be our first care to animate the young 
convert against them, (chap. 16.) And that it may 
be done more effectually, I shall urge a solemn dedi- 
cation of himself to God, (chap. 17.) to be confirmed 
by entering into the full communion of the church 
by an approach to the sacred table, (chap. 18.) That 
these engagements may be more happily fulfilled, we 
shall endeavour to draw a more particular plan of 
that devout, regular, and accurate course, which ought 
daily to be attended to, (chap. 19.) and because the 
idea will probably rise so much higher than what 
is the general practice, even of good men, we shall 
endeavour to persuade the reader to make the at- 
tempt, hard as it may seem, (chap. 20.) and shall 
caution him against various temptations, which 
might otherwise draw him aside to negligence and 
sin, (chap. 21.) 

10. Happy will it be for the reader, if these exhor- 
tations and cautions be attended to with becoming 
regard ; but as it is, alas ! too probable, that notwith- 
standing all, the infirmities of nature will sometimes 
prevail, we shall consider the case of deadness and 
languor in religion, which often steals upon us by in- 
sensible degrees, (chap. 22.) from whence there is too 
easy a passage to that terrible one of a return unto 
known and deliberate sin, (chap. 23.) And as the one 
or the other of these tends, in a proportionable degree, 
to provoke the blessed God to hide his face, and his 
injured Spirit to withdraw, that melancholy condition 


will be taken into a particular survey, (chap. 24.) I 
shall then take notice also of the case of great and 
heavy afflictions in life, (chap. 25.) a discipline which 
the best of men have reason to expect, especially 
when they backslide from God, and yield to their 
spiritual enemies. 

11. Instances of this kind will, I fear, be too fre- 
quent ; yet, I trust, there will be many others, whose 
path, like the dawning light, will " shine more and 
more unto the perfect day," Prov. iv. 13. And there- 
fore we shall endeavour, in the best manner we can, 
to assist the Christian in passing a true judgment on 
the growth of grace in his heart, (chap. 26.) as we 
had done before in judging of its sincerity. And as 
nothing conduces more to the advancement of grace 
than the lively exercise of love to God, a holy joy in 
him, we shall here remind the real Christian of those 
mercies which tend to excite that love and joy, (chap. 
27.) and, in the views of them, to animate him to 
those vigorous efforts of usefulness in life which so 
well become his character, and will have so happy 
an efficacy on brightening his crown, (chap. 28.) Sup- 
posing him to act accordingly, we shall then labour 
to illustrate and assist the delight with which he may 
look forward to the awful solemnities of death and 
judgment: (chap. 29.) and shall close the scene by 
accompanying him, as it were, to the nearest confines 
of that dark valley, through which he is to pass to 
glory ; giving him such directions as may seem most 
subservient to his honouring God, and adorning re- 
ligion, by his dying behaviour, (chap. 30.) Nor am 
I without a pleasing hope, that through the divine 
blessing and grace, I may be, in some instances, so 
successful as to leave those triumphing in the views 
of judgment and eternity, and glorifying God by a 
truly Christian life and death, whom I found trem- 
bling in the apprehensions of future misery; or, 
perhaps, in a much more dangerous and miserable 
condition than that ; I mean, entirely forgetting the 
prospect, and sunk into the most stupid insensibility 
of those things, for an attention to which the hu- 


man mind was formed, and in comparison of which 
all the pursuits of this transitory life are emptier than 
wind, and lighter than a feather. 

12. Such a variety of heads must, to be sure, be 
handled but briefly, as we intend to bring them with- 
in the bulk of a moderate volume. I shall not, there- 
fore, discuss them, as a preacher might properly do 
in sermons, in which the truths of religion are pro- 
fessedly to be explained and taught, defended and 
improved in a wide variety, and long detail of propo- 
sitions, arguments, objections, replies, and inferences, 
marshalled and numbered under their distinct gene- 
rals. I shall here speak in a looser and freer manner, 
as a friend to a friend; just as I would do, if I were 
to be in person admitted to a private audience, by one 
whom I tenderly loved, and whose circumstances and 
character I knew to be like that which the title of one 
chapter or another of this treatise describes. And 
when I have discoursed with him a little while, 
which will seldom be so long as half an hour, I shall, 
as it were, step aside, and leave him to meditate 
on what he has heard, or endeavour to assist him in 
such fervent addresses to God, as it may be proper 
to mingle with those meditations. In the mean time, 
I will here take the liberty to pray over my reader 
and my work, and to commend it solemnly to the 
divine blessing, in token of my deep conviction of an 
entire dependence upon it. And I am well persuaded, 
that sentiments like these are common, in the gene- 
ral, to every faithful minister, to every real Christian. 


Oh thou great eternal Original, and Author of all 
created being and happiness! I adore thee, who 
hast made man a creature capable of religion, and 
hast bestowed this dignity and felicity upon our na- 
ture, that it may be taught to say, " Where is God 
our Maker?" Job xxxv. 10. I lament that degene- 
racy spread over the whole human race, which has 


"turned our glory into shame," Hos. iv. 7, and has 
rendered the forgetfulness of God (unnatural as it is) 
so common, and so universal a disease. Holy Father, 
we know it is thy presence, and thy teaching alone, 
that can reclaim thy wandering children ; can impress 
a sense of divine things on the heart, and render that 
sense lasting and effectual. From thee proceed all 
good purposes and desires; and this desire above all, 
of diffusing wisdom, piety, and happiness in this 
world, which, (though sunk in such deep apostasy,) 
thine infinite mercy has not utterly forsaken. 

" Thou knowest, Lord, the hearts of the children 
of men," 2 Chron. vi. 30, and an upright soul, in the 
midst of all the censures and suspicions it may meet 
with, rejoices in thine intimate knowledge of its most 
secret sentiments and principles of action. Thou 
knowest the sincerity and fervency with which thine 
unworthy servant desires to spread the knowledge 
of thy name, and the favour of thy gospel, among all 
to whom this work may reach. Thou knowest, that 
hadst thou given him an abundance of this world, it 
would have been, in his esteem, the noblest pleasure 
that abundance could have afforded to have been 
thine almoner, in distributing thy bounties to the in- 
digent and necessitous, and so causing the sorrowful 
heart to rejoice in thy goodness dispensed through 
his hands. Thou knowest, that hadst thou given 
him either by ordinary or extraordinary methods, the 
gift of healing, it would have been his daily delight 
to relieve the pains, the maladies, and the infirmities 
of men's bodies; to have seen the languishing coun- 
tenance brightened by returning health and cheerful- 
ness ; and much more, to have beheld the roving dis- 
tracted mind reduced to calmness and serenity in the 
exercise of its rational faculties. Yet happier, far 
happier, will he think himself, in those humble cir- 
cumstances in which thy Providence has placed him, 
if thou vouchsafe to honour these his feeble endea- 
vours as the means of relieving and enriching men's 
minds; of recovering them from the madness of a 
sinful state, and bringing back thy reasonable crea- 


tures to the knowledge, the service, and the enjoy- 
ment of their God; or of improving those who are 
already reduced. 

may it have that blessed influence on the per- 
son, whosoever he be, that is now reading these lines, 
and on all who may read or hear them! Let not 
my Lord be angry, if I presume to ask, that however 
weak and contemptible this work may seem in the 
eyes of the children of this world, and however im- 
perfect it really be, as well as the author of it un- 
worthy, it may, nevertheless, live before thee ; and, 
through a divine power, be mighty to produce the 
rise and progress of religion in the minds of multi- 
tudes in distant places, and in generations yet to 
come ! Impute it not, God, as a culpable ambi- 
tion, if I desire, that whatever becomes of my name, 
about which I would not lose one thought before 
thee, this work, to which I am now applying myself 
in thy strength, may be completed, and propagated 
far abroad; that it may reach to those that are yet 
unborn, and teach them thy name and thy praise 
when the author has long dwelt in the dust: that so, 
when he shall appear before thee in the great day 
of final account, his joy may be increased, and his 
crown brightened, by numbers before unknown to 
each other, and to him ! But if this petition be too 
great to be granted to one who pretends no claim, 
but thy sovereign grace, to hope for being favoured 
with the least, give him to be, in thine almighty 
hand, the blessed instrument of converting and saving 
one soul: and, if it be but one, and that the weakest 
and meanest of those who are capable of receiving 
this address, it shall be most thankfully accepted as 
a rich recompense for all the thought and labour it 
may cost; and though it should be amidst a thou- 
sand disappointments with respect to others, yet it 
shall be the subject of immortal songs of praise to 
thee, blessed God, for and by every soul, whom, 
through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of thy 
Spirit, thou hast saved : and everlasting honours shall 
be ascribed to the Father, and to the Son, and to the 


Holy Spirit, by the innumerable company of angels, 
and by the general assembly and church of the first- 
born in heaven. Amen. 



It is too supposable a case that this treatise may come into such 
hands, 1, 2. Since many, not grossly vicious, fall under that 
character, 3, 4. A more particular illustration of this case, with 
an appeal to the reader whether it be not his own, 5, 6. Expos- 
tulation with such, 7 — 9; more particularly, (1.) from acknow- 
ledged principles, relating to the nature of God, his universal pre- 
sence, agency, and perfections, 10 — 12. (2.) From a view of per- 
sonal obligations to him, 13. (3.) From the danger of this neglect, 
when considered in its aspect on a future state, 14. An appeal 
to the conscience, as already convinced, 15. Transition to the 
subject of the next chapter, 16. The meditation of a sinner, who, 
having been long thoughtless, begins to be awakened. 

1. Shamefully and fatally as religion is neglected 
in the world, yet blessed be God, it has some sincere 
disciples ; children of wisdom, by whom, even in this 
foolish and degenerate age, it " is justified," Matt. 
xi. 19; who having, by divine grace, been brought 
to the knowledge of God in Christ, have faithfully 
devoted their hearts to him, and, by a natural conse- 
quence, are devoting their lives to his service. Could 
I be sure this treatise would fall into no hands but 
theirs, my work would be shorter, easier, and plea- 

2. But, among the thousands that neglect religion, 
it is more than possible that some of my readers may 
be included; and I am so deeply affected with their 
unhappy case, that the temper of my heart, as well 
as the proper method of my subject, leads me, in the 
first place, to address myself to such; to apply to 
every one of them : and therefore, to you, reader, 
whoever you are, who may come under the denomi- 
nation of " a careless sinner." 


3. Be not, I beseech you, angry at the name. The 
physicians of souls must speak plainly, or they may 
murder those whom they should cure. ,1 would 
make no harsh and unreasonable, supposition. I 
would charge you with nothing more than is abso- 
lutely necessary to convince you that you are the 
person to whom I speak. I will not, therefore, ima- 
gine you to be a profane and abandoned profligate. 
I will not suppose that you allow yourself to blas- 
pheme God, to dishonour his name by customary 
swearing, or grossly to violate the Sabbath, or com- 
monly to neglect the solemnities of his public wor- 
ship: I will not imagine that you have injured your 
neighbours in their lives, their chastity, or their pos- 
sessions, either by violence, or by fraud; or that you 
have scandalously debased the rational nature of 
man by that vile intemperance which transforms us 
into the worst kind of brutes, or something beneath 

4. In opposition to all this, I will suppose that you 
believe the existence and providence of God, and the 
truth of Christianity as a revelation from him; of 
which, if you have any doubt, I must desire that 
you would immediately seek your satisfaction else- 
where.* I say, immediately: because not to believe 
it, is in effect, to disbelieve it; and will make your 
ruin equally certain, though, perhaps, it may leave it 
less aggravated, than if contempt and opposition had 
been added to suspicion and neglect. Bat, suppo- 
sing you to be a nominal Christian, and not a deist 
or a sceptic; I will also suppose your conduct among 
men to be not only blameless, but amiable, and that 
they who know you most intimately, must acknow- 
ledge that you are just and sober, humane and cour- 
teous, compassionate and liberal; yet, with all this, 
you may "lack that one thing," Mark x. 21, on 
which your eternal happiness depends. 

* In such a case, I beg leave to refer the reader to my three 
sermons on the Evidence of Christianity ; the last of the ten on the 
Power and Grace of Christ : in which he may see the hitherto un- 
shaken foundations of my own faith, in a short, and, I hope, a clear 
view. o 


5. I beseech you, reader, whoever you are, that 
you would look seriously into your own heart, and 
ask it this one plain question, "Am I truly religious?" 
Is the love of God the governing principle of my life ? 
Do I walk under a sense of his presence ? Do I con- 
verse with him from day to day, in the exercise of 
prayer and praise ? And am I, on the whole, making 
his service my business and my delight, regarding 
him as my Master and my Father? 

6. It is my present business only to address myself 
to the person whose conscience answers in the nega- 
tive. And I would address with equal plainness, and 
equal freedom, to high and low, to rich and poor: to 
you who (as the Scripture, with a dreadful proprie- 
ty, expresses it,) "live without God in the world/' 
Eph. ii. 12, and while, in words and forms, you " own 
God, deny him in your actions," Tit. i. 16, and be- 
have yourselves in the main, (a few external cere- 
monies only excepted,) just as you would do if you 
believed, and were sure, there was no God. Unhap- 
py creature, whoever you are, your own heart con- 
demns you immediately; and how much more that 
" God who is greater than your heart, and knoweth 
all things!" 1 John hi. 20. He is " in secret," Matt, 
vi. 6, as well as in public; and words cannot express 
the delight with which his children converse with 
him alone.*" but in secret you acknowledge him not; 
you neither pray to him, nor praise him in your re- 
tirements. Accounts, correspondences, studies, may 
often bring you into your closet ; but if nothing but 
devotion were to be transacted there, it would be to 
you quite an unfrequented place. And thus you go 
on from day to day, in a continual forgetfulness of 
God ; and are as thoughtless about religion, as if you 
had long since demonstrated it to yourself that it was 
a mere dream. If, indeed, you are sick, you will 
perhaps cry to God for health ; in any extreme dan- 
ger you will lift up your eyes and voice for deliver- 
ance; but as for the pardon of sin, and the other 
blessings of the gospel, you are not at all inwardly 
solicitous about them, though you profess to believe 


that the gospel is divine, and the blessings of it eter- 
nal. All your thoughts, and all your hours are divided 
between the business and amusements of life : and if, 
now and then, an awful providence, or a serious ser- 
mon or book, awakens you, it is but a few days, or 
it may be, a few hours, and you are the same care- 
less creature you ever were before. On the whole, 
you act as if you were resolved to put it to the ven- 
ture, and, at your own expense, to make the experi- 
ment, whether the . consequences of neglecting reli- 
gion be indeed as terrible as its ministers and friends 
have represented. Their remonstrances do, indeed, 
sometimes force themselves upon you, as (consider- 
ing the age and country in which you live) it is hard- 
ly possible entirely to avoid them; but you have, it 
may be, found out the art of Isaiah's people, " Hear- 
ing to hear, and not understand; and seeing to see, 
and not perceive; your heart is waxed gross, your 
eyes are closed, and your ears heavy," Isaiah vi. 9, 
10. Under the very ordinances of worship, your 
thoughts " are at the ends of the earth," Prov. xvii. 
24. Every amusement of the imagination is wel- 
come, if it may but lead away your mind from so 
insipid and disagreeable a subject as religion. And, 
probably, the very last time you were in a worship- 
ing assembly, you managed just as you would have 
done, if you thought God knew nothing of your beha- 
viour; or as if you did not think it worth one single 
care, whether he were pleased or displeased with it. 

7. Alas ! is it then come to this, with all your be- 
lief of God, and providence, and Scripture, that reli- 
gion is not worth a thought ; that it is not worth one 
hour's serious consideration and reflection, " what 
God and Christ are, and what you yourself are, and 
what you must hereafter be?" Where then are all 
your rational faculties? How are they employed; 
or rather, how are they stupefied and benumbed? 

8. The certainty and importance of the things of 
which I speak are so evident, from the principles 
which you yourself grant, that one might almost set 
a child or an idiot to reason upon them; and yet 


they are neglected by those who are grown up to 
understanding, and perhaps, some of them to such 
refinement of understanding, that they would think 
themselves greatly injured, if they were not to be 
reckoned among the politer and the more learned 
part of mankind. 

9. But it is not your neglect, that can destroy the 
being or importance of such things as these. It 
may indeed destroy you, but it cannot in the least 
affect them. Permit me, therefore, having been 
myself awakened, to come to you, and say, as the 
mariners did to Jonah, while asleep in the midst of 
a much less dangerous storm, "what meanest thou, 
sleeper? Arise and call upon thy God," Jonah i. 
6. Do you doubt as to the reasonableness, or neces- 
sity, of doing it ? "I will demand, and answer me," 
Job xxxviii. 3. Answer me to your own conscience, 
as one that must, ere long, render another kind of 

10. You own that there is a God, and well you 
may: for you cannot open your eyes but you must 
see the evident proofs of his being, his presence, and 
his agency. You behold him around you in every 
object: you feel him within you, if I may so speak, 
in every vein, and in every nerve : you see, and you 
feel, not only that he has formed you with an exqui- 
site wisdom which no mortal man could ever fully 
explain or comprehend ; but that he is continually near 
you, wherever you are, and however you are em- 
ployed, by day or by night; " in him you live, and 
move, and have your being," Acts xvii. 28. Common 
sense will tell you that it is not your own wisdom, 
and power, and attention, that causes your heart to 
beat, and your blood to circulate; that draws in, and 
sends out, that breath of life, that precarious breath 
of a most uncertain life, " that is in your nostrils," 
Isaiah ii. 22. These things are done when you sleep, 
as well as in those waking moments, when you think 
not of the circulation of the blood, nor of the neces- 
sity of breathing, nor so much as recollect that you 
have a heart and lungs. Now, what is this but the 


hand of God perpetually supporting and actuating 
those curious machines that he has made ? 

11. Nor is this his care limited to you; but, if you 
look all around you, far as your views can reach, you 
see it extending itself on every side ; and, oh, how 
much further than you can trace it ! Reflect on the 
light and heat which the sun every where dispenses ; 
on the air which surrounds our globe, on the right 
temperature of which the life of the whole human 
race depends, and that of all the inferior creatures 
which dwell on the earth. Think of the suitable and 
plentiful provision made for man and beast; the grass, 
the grain, the variety of fruits, and herbs, and flowers ; 
every thing that nourishes us, every thing that delights 
us; and say, whether it does not speak plainly and 
loudly that our Almighty Maker is near, and that he 
is careful of us, and kind to us. And while all these 
things proclaim his goodness, do they not also pro- 
claim his power? For what power has any thing 
comparable to that which furnishes out these gifts of 
royal bounty; and which, unwearied and unchanged, 
produces continually, from day to day, and from age 
to age, such astonishing and magnificent effects over 
the face of the whole earth, and through all the re- 
gions of heaven? 

12. It is then evident, that God is present, present 
with you at this moment; even God, your Creator 
and Preserver; God, the Creator and Preserver of the 
whole visible and invisible world. And is he not 
present as a most observant and attentive Being? 
" He that formed the eye, shall not he see ? He that 
planted the ear, shall not he hear? He that teaches 
man knowledge," that gives him his rational facul- 
ties, and pours in on his opening mind all the light it 
receives by them, "shall not he know?" Psalm xciv. 
9, 10. He who sees all the necessities of his crea- 
tures, so seasonably to provide for them, shall he not 
see their actions too; and seeing, shall he not judge 
of them? Has he given us a sense and discernment 
of what is good and evil, of what is true and false, 
of what is fair and deformed in temper and conduct; 


and has he himself no discernment of these things ? 
Trifle not with your conscience, which tells you at 
once, that he judges of it, and approves or condemns, 
as it is decent or indecent, reasonable or unreason- 
able ; and that the judgment which he passes is of in- 
finite importance to all his creatures. 

13. And now, to apply all this to your own case, 
let me seriously ask you, is it a decent and reasonable 
thing that this great and glorious Benefactor should 
be neglected by his rational creatures; by those 
that are capable of attaining to some knowledge of 
him, and presenting to him some homage ? Is it de- 
cent and reasonable that he should be forgotten and 
neglected by you? Are you alone, of all the works 
of his hands, forgotten and neglected by him ? Oh 
sinner, thoughtless as you are, you cannot dare to say 
that, or even to think it. You need not go back to 
the helpless days of your infancy and childhood to 
convince you to the contrary; you need not, in order 
to this, to recollect the remarkable deliverances which, 
perhaps, were wrought out for you many years ago. 
The repose of the last night, the refreshment and com- 
fort you have received this day ; yea, the mercies you 
are receiving this very moment, bear witness to him ; 
and yet you regard him not. Ungrateful creature 
that you are! could you have treated any human 
benefactor thus ? Could you have borne to neglect 
a kind parent, or any generous friend that had but 
for a few months acted the part of a parent to you ; 
to have taken no notice of him, while in his presence ; 
to have returned him no thanks; to have had no con- 
trivances to make some little acknowledgment for all 
his goodness? Human nature, bad as it is, is not 
fallen so low; nay, the brutal nature is not so low, 
as this. Surely every domestic animal around you, 
must shame such ingratitude. If you do but for 
a few days take a little kind notice of a dog, and 
feed him with the refuse of your table, he will 
wait upon you, and love to be near you; he will be 
eager to follow you from place to place; and when 
after a little absence, you return home, will try, by a 


thousand fond transported motions, to tell you how 
much he rejoices to see you again. Nay brutes, far 
less sagacious and apprehensive, have some sense of 
our kindness, and express it after their way ; as the 
blessed God condescends to observe, in this very view 
in which I mention it, the dull " ox knows his owner, 
and the" stupid " ass his master's crib," Isaiah i. 3. 
What lamentable degeneracy therefore is it that you 
do not know, that you, who have been numbered 
among God's professed people, do not, and, will not, 
consider your numberless obligations to him? 

14. Surely, if you have any ingenuousness of tem- 
per, you must be ashamed and grieved in the review; 
but if you have not, give me leave further to expos- 
tulate with you on this head, by setting it in some- 
thing of a different light. Can you think yourself 
safe while you are acting a part like this ? Do you 
not in your conscience believe there will be a future 
judgment? Do you not believe there is an invisible 
and eternal world? As professed Christians we all 
believe it; for it is no controverted point, but display- 
ed in Scripture with so clear an evidence, that, subtle 
and ingenious as men are in error, they have not yet 
found out a way to evade it. And believing this, do 
you not see, that while you are thus wandering from 
God, " destruction and misery are in your ways?" 
Rom. iii. 16. Will this indolence and negligence of 
temper, be any security to you? will it guard you 
from death? will it excuse you from judgment? You 
might much more reasonably expect, that shutting 
your eyes would be a defence against the rage of a 
devouring lion; or that looking another way should 
secure your body from being pierced by a bullet or 
a sword. When God speaks of the extravagant folly 
of some thoughtless creatures, who would hearken 
to no admonition now, he adds, in a very awful 
manner, " in the latter day they shall consider it per- 
fectly." Jer. xxiii. 20. And is not this applicable to 
you? Must you not, sooner or later, be brought to 
think of these things whether you will or no? And, 
in the mean time, do you not certainly know, that 


timely and serious reflection upon them is, through 
divine grace, the only way to prevent your ruin? 

15. Yes, sinner, I need not multiply words on a 
subject like this. Your conscience is already in- 
wardly convinced, though your pride may be unwil- 
ling to own it. And, to prove it, let me ask you one 
question more : would you, upon any terms and con- 
siderations whatever, come to a resolution, absolutely 
to dismiss all further thought of religion, and all care 
about it, from this day and hour, and to abide by the 
consequences of that neglect? I believe hardly any 
man living would be bold enough to determine upon 
this; I believe most of my readers would be ready to 
tremble at the thought of it. 

16. But if it be necessary to take these things into 
consideration at all, it is necessary to do it quickly ; 
for life itself is not so very long, nor so certain, that 
a wise man should risk much upon its continuance. 
And I hope to convince you, when I have another 
hearing, that it is necessary to do it immediately; 
and that next to the madness of resolving you will 
not think of religion at all, is that of saying you will 
think of it hereafter. In the mean time, pause on 
the hints which have been already given, and they 
will prepare you to receive what is to be added on 
that head. 


Awake, oh my forgetful soul, awake from these 
wandering dreams ; turn thee from this chase of van- 
ity, and for a little while be persuaded, by all these 
considerations, to look forward, and to look upward, 
at least, for a few moments. Sufficient are the hours 
and days given to the labours and amusements of 
life; grudge not a short allotment of minutes to view 
thyself and thine own more immediate concerns: to 
reflect who, and what thou art; how it comes to pass 
that thou art here, and what thou must quickly be. 

It is indeed as thou hast now seen it represented. 


Oh my soul, thou art the creature of God, formed 
and furnished by him, and lodged in a body which 
he provided, and which he supports; a body in which 
he intends thee only a transitory abode. Oh, think 
how soon " this tabernacle must be dissolved," 2 Cor. 
v. 1, and "thou must return to God," Eccles. xii. 7. 
And shall He, the one infinite, eternal, ever blessed, 
and ever glorious Being, shall He be least of all re- 
garded by thee ? Wilt thou live and die with this 
character, saying by every action of every day unto 
God, " Depart from me, for I desire not the know- 
ledge of thy ways?" Job xxi. 14. The morning, the 
day, the evening, the night, every period of time, has 
its excuses for this neglect. But, oh my soul, what 
will these excuses appear when examined by his 
penetrating eye! They may delude me, but they 
cannot impose upon him. 

Oh, thou injured, neglected, provoked Benefactor ! 
when I think but for a moment or two, of all thy 
greatness, and of all thy goodness, I am astonished 
at this insensibility which has prevailed in my heart, 
and even, still prevails. " I blush, and am confound- 
ed to lift up my face before thee," Ezra ix. 6. On 
the most transient review, I see that " I have played 
the fool, that I have erred exceedingly," 1 Sam. xxvi. 
21, and yet this stupid heart of mine would make its 
having neglected thee so long, a reason for going on 
to neglect thee. I own it might justly be expected 
that, with regard to thee, every one of thy rational 
creatures should be all duty and love; that each heart 
should be full of a sense of thy presence ; and that a 
care to please thee should swallow up every other 
care; yet thou " hast not been in all my thoughts," 
Psal. x. 4; and religion, the end and glory of my na- 
ture, has been so strangely overlooked, that I have 
hardly ever seriously asked my own heart what it is. 
I know, if matters rest here, I perish ; and yet I feel 
in my perverse nature a secret indisposition to pur- 
sue these thoughts; a proneness, if not entirely to 
dismiss them, yet to lay them aside for the present. 
My mind is perplexed and divided; but I am sure 


thou who madest me knowest what is best for me. 
I therefore beseech thee, that thou wilt, "for thy 
name's sake, lead me and guide me/' Psal. xxxi. 3. 
Let me not delay till it is for ever too late; " pluck 
me as a brand out of the burning," Amos iv. 11. 
Oh, break this fatal enchantment that holds down my 
affections to objects which my judgment compara- 
tively despises; and let me, at length, come into so 
happy a state of mind, that I may not be afraid to 
think of thee and of myself, and may not be tempted 
to wish, that thou hadst not made me, or that thou 
couldst forever forget me; that it may not be my best 
hope to perish like the brutes. 

If what I shall further read here be agreeable to 
truth and reason; if it be calculated to promote my 
happiness, and is to be regarded as an intimation of 
thy will and pleasure to me, oh God, let me hear 
and obey ; let the words of thy servant, when plead- 
ing thy cause, be like goads to pierce into my mind; 
and let me rather feel and smart, than die. Let them 
be as "nails fastened in a sure place," Eccles. xii. 11, 
that whatever mysteries as yet unknown, or what- 
ever difficulties there be in religion, if it be necessary, 
I may not finally neglect it; and that if it be expe- 
dient to attend immediately to it, I may no longer 
delay that attention. And, oh, let thy grace teach 
me the lesson I am so slow to learn, and conquer that 
strong opposition which I feel in my heart against 
the very thought of it! Hear these broken cries for 
the sake of thy Son, who has taught and saved many 
a creature as untractable as I, and can " of stones 
raise up children to Abraham," Matt. iii. 9. Amen. 




Sinners when awakened, inclined to dismiss convictions for the pre- 
sent, 1. An immediate regard to religion urged, 2. (!..) From 
the excellency and pleasure of the thing itself, 3. (2.) From the 
uncertainty of that future time on which sinners presume, com- 
pared with the sad consequences of being cut off in sin, 4. (3.) 
From the immutability of God's present demands, 5. (4.) From 
the tendency which delay has to make a compliance with these 
demands more difficult than it is at present, 6. (5.) From the 
danger of God's withdrawing his Spirit, compared with the dread- 
ful case of a sinner, given up by it, 7. which probably is now the 
case of many, 8. Since, therefore, on the whole, whatever the 
event be, delays must prove matter of lamentation, 9. The chap- 
ter concludes with an exhortation against yielding to them, 10. 
and a prayer against temptations of that kind. 

1. I hope my last address so far awakened the con- 
victions of my reader, as to bring him to this purpose, 
" That some time or other he would attend to reli- 
gious considerations." But give me leave to ask 
earnestly and poiutedly, "When shall that be?" — 
" Go thy way for this time, and at a more convenient 
season I will send for thee," was the language and 
the ruin of unhappy Felix, Acts xxiv. 25, when he 
trembled under the reasonings and expostulations of 
the apostle. The tempter presumed not to urge that 
he should give up all thoughts of repentance and re- 
formation; but only that, considering the present hurry 
of his affairs, (as no doubt they were many) he should 
defer it to a longer day. The artifice succeeded, and 
Felix was undone. 

2. Will you, reader, dismiss me thus? For your 
own sake, and out of tender compassion to your pe- 
rishing immortal soul, I would not willingly take up 
with such a dismission and excuse. No, not though 
you should fix a time : though you should determine 
on the next year, or month, or week, or day. I would 
turn upon you with all the eagerness and tenderness 
of friendly importunity, and entreat you to bring the 


matter to an issue even now; for if you say, "I will 
think on these things to-morrow," I shall have little 
hope, and shall conclude, that all that I have hitherto 
urged, and all that you have read, has been offered 
and viewed in vain. 

3. When I invite you to the care and practice of 
religion, it may seem strange that it should be neces- 
sary for me affectionately to plead the cause with you, 
in order to your immediate regard and compliance. 
What I am inviting you to is so noble and excellent 
in itself, so well worthy the dignity of our rational 
nature, so suitable to it, so manly, and so wise, that 
one would imagine you should take fire, as it were, 
at the first hearing of it; yea, that so delightful a 
view should presently possess your whole soul with 
a kind of indignation against yourself that you pur- 
sued it no sooner. " May I lift up mine eyes and my 
soul to God? may I devote myself to him? may I 
even now commence a friendship with him, a friend- 
ship which shall last for ever, the security, the de- 
light, the glory of this immortal nature of mine? 
And shall I draw back, and say, Nevertheless, let me 
not commence this friendship too soon : let me live 
at least a few weeks, or a few days longer, without 
God in the world?" Surely it would be much more 
reasonable to turn inward, and say, " Oh my soul, 
on what vile husks hast thou been feeding, while 
thine heavenly Father has been forsaken and injured ? 
Shall I desire to multiply the days of my poverty, my 
scandal, and my misery?" On this principle, surely, 
an immediate return to God should, in all reason, be 
chosen, rather than to play the fool any longer, and 
go on a little more to displease God, and thereby to 
starve and to wound your own soul, even though 
your continuance in life were ever so certain, and 
your capacity to return to God and your duty ever 
so entirely in your own power now, and in every fu- 
ture moment, through scores of years yet to come. 

4. But who, or what are you, that you should lay 
your account for years, or for months to come? 
"What is your life?" Is it not "even a vapour 


that appeareth for a little time, ai . I then vanisheth 
away?" James iv. 14. And what is your security, or 
what is your peculiar warrant, that you should thus 
depend upon the certainty of its continuance: and 
that so absolutely, as to venture, as it were, to pawn 
your soul upon it ? " Why," you will perhaps say, 
" I am young, and in all my bloom and vigour: I see 
hundreds about me, who are more than double my 
age, and not a few of them who seem to think it too 
soon to attend to religion yet." You view the living, 
and you talk thus : but I beseech you think of the 
dead. Return in your thoughts to those graves, in 
which you have left some of your young companions 
and your friends. You saw them awhile ago, gay and 
active; warm with life, and hopes, and schemes; and 
some of them would have thought a friend strangely 
importunate that should have interrupted them in 
their business, and their pleasures, with a solemn lec- 
ture of death and eternity :. yet they were then on the 
very borders of both. You have since seen their 
corpses, or at least their coffins: and probably carried 
about with you the badges of mourning which you 
received at their funerals. Those once vigorous and 
perhaps beautiful bodies of theirs, now lie moul- 
dering in the dust, as senseless and helpless as the 
most decrepid pieces of human nature which four- 
score years ever brought down to it. And, what is 
infinitely more to be regarded, their souls, whether 
prepared for this great change, or thoughtless of it, 
have made their appearance before God, and are, at 
this moment, fixed either in heaven or in hell. Now, 
let me seriously ask you, would it be miraculous, or 
would it be strange, if such an event should befall you? 
How are you sure that some fatal disease shall not 
this day begin to work in your veins? How are you 
sure that you shall ever be capable of reading or 
thinking any more, if you do not attend to what you 
now read, and pursue the thought which is now offer- 
ing itself to your mind? This sudden alteration may, 
at least, possibly happen ; and if it does, it will be to 
you a terrible one indeed. To be thus surprised into 



the presence of a forgotten God ; to be torn away, at 
once, from a world, to which your whole heart and 
soul has been riveted; a world, which has engrossed 
all your thoughts and cares, all your desires and pur- 
suits; and be fixed in a state which you could never 
be so far persuaded to think of, as to spend so much 
as one hour in serious preparation for it ; how must 
you even shudder at the apprehension of it, and with 
what horror must it fill you? It seems matter of 
wonder, that, in such circumstances, you are not al- 
most distracted with the thoughts of the uncertainty 
of life, and are not even ready to die for fear of death. 
To trifle with God any longer, after so solemn an 
admonition as this, would be a circumstance of addi- 
tional provocation, which, after all the rest, might be 
fatal : nor is there any thing that you can expect in 
such a case, but that he should cut you off imme- 
diately, and teach other thoughtless creatures, by 
your ruin, what a hazardous experiment they make, 
when they act as you are acting. 

5. And will you, after all, run this desperate risk? 
For what imaginable purpose can you do it? Do 
you think the business of religion will become less 
necessary, or more easy, by your delay? You know 
that it will not. You know, that whatever the bless- 
ed God demands now, he will also demand twenty 
or thirty years hence, if you should live to see the 
time. God has fixed the method, in which he will 
pardon and accept sinners, in his gospel. And will 
he ever alter that method? or, if he will not, can men 
alter it? You like not to think of repenting, and 
humbling yourself before God, to receive righteous- 
ness and life from his free grace in Christ; and you 
above all dislike to think of returning to God in the 
ways of holy obedience. But will he ever dispense 
with any of these, and publish a new gospel, with 
promises of life and salvation to impenitent unbe- 
lieving sinners, if they will but call themselves Chris- 
tians, and submit to a few external rites? How long 
do you think you might wait for such a change in 
the constitution of things? You know death will 


come upon you; and you cannot but know in your 
own conscience, that a general dissolution will come 
upon the world long before God can thus deny him- 
self, and contradict all his perfections, and all his 

6. Or, if his demands continue the same, as they 
assuredly will, do you think any thing, which is now 
disagreeable to you in them, will be less disagreeable 
hereafter than it is at present? Shall you love sin 
less, when it is become more habitual to you, and 
when conscience is yet more enfeebled and debauch- 
ed? If you are "running with the footmen and 
fainting, shall you be able to contend with the horse- 
men?" Jer. xii. 5. Surely you cannot imagine it. 
You would not say in any distemper which threat- 
ened your life, " I will stay till I grow a little worse, 
and then I will apply to a physician: I will let my 
disease get a little more rooting in my vitals, and 
then I will try what can be done to remove it." No; 
it is only where the life of the soul is concerned, that 
men think thus wildly: the life and health of the 
body appear too precious to be thus trifled away. 

7. If, after such desperate experiments, you are 
ever recovered, it must be by an operation of divine 
grace on your soul, yet more powerful and more 
wonderful, in proportion to the increasing inveteracy 
of your spiritual maladies. And can you expect that 
the Holy Spirit should be more ready to assist you, 
in consequence of your having so shamefully trifled 
with him and affronted him? He is now, in some 
measure, moving on your heart: if you feel any 
secret relentings in it upon what you read, it is a sign 
you are not yet utterly forsaken: but who can tell 
whether these are not the last touches he will ever 
give to a heart so long hardened against him? Who 
can tell but God may this day " swear in his wrath, 
that you shall not enter into his rest?" Heb. hi. 18. 
I have been telling you that you may immediately 
die. You own it is possible you may. And can you 
think of any thing more terrible ? Yes, sinner, I will 
tell you of one thing more dreadful than immediate 


death and immediate damnation. The blessed God 
may say, " as for that wretched creature, who has so 
long trifled with me, and provoked me, let him still 
live : let him live in the midst of prosperity and plen- 
ty : let him live under the purest and most powerful 
ordinances of the gospel too; that he may abuse 
them, to aggravate his condemnation, and die under 
seven-fold guilt, and a seven-fold curse. I will not 
give him the grace to think of his ways for one seri- 
ous moment more; but he shall go on from bad to 
worse, filling up the measure of his iniquities, till 
death and destruction seize him in an unexpected 
hour, and wrath come upon him to the uttermost," 
1 Thess. ii. 16. 

8. You think this is an uncommon case; but I fear 
it is much otherwise. I fear there are few congre- 
gations where the word of God has been faithfully 
preached, and where it has been long despised, espe- 
cially by those whom it had once awakened, in which 
the eye of God does not see a number of such wretch- 
ed souls; though it is impossible for us to pronounce 
who they are. 

9. I pretend not to say how he will deal with you, 
oh reader; whether he will immediately cut you off, 
or seal you up under final hardness and impenitency 
of heart; or whether his grace may, at length, awa- 
ken you, to consider your ways, and to return to him, 
even when your heart is grown yet more obdurate 
than it is at present: for to his almighty grace nothing 
is hard, not even to transform a rock of marble into 
a man and a saint. But this I will confidently say, 
that if you delay any longer, the time will come 
when you will bitterly repent of that delay; and 
either lament it before God in the anguish of your 
heart here, or curse your own folly and madness in 
hell; yea, when you will wish that, dreadful as hell 
is, you had rather fallen into it sooner than have 
lived in the midst of so many abused mercies, to ren- 
der the degree of your punishment more insupport- 
able, and your sense of it more exquisitely torment- 


10. I do, therefore, earnestly exhort you, in the 
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the worth, 
and, if I may so speak, by the blood of your immor- 
tal and perishing soul, that you delay not a day or 
an hour longer. Far from " giving sleep to your 
eyes, or slumber to your eye-lids," Prov. vi. 4, in the 
continued neglect of this important concern, " take 
with you," even now, "words, and turn unto the 
Lord," Hos. xiv. 2, and before you quit the place 
where you now are, fall upon your knees in his 
sacred presence, and pour out your heart in such 
language, or at least to some such purpose as this. 


Oh thou righteous and holy Sovereign of heaven 
and earth ! thou " God in whose hand my breath is, 
and whose are all my ways," Dan. v. 23, I confess I 
have been far from glorifying thee, or conducting 
myself according to the intimations, or the declara- 
tions of thy will. I have therefore reason to adore 
thy forbearance and goodness, that thou hast not long 
since stopped my breath, and " cut me off from the 
land of the living." I adore thy patience, that I 
have not months and years ago been an inhabitant 
of hell; where ten thousand delaying sinners are now 
lamenting their folly, and will be lamenting it for 
ever. But, God, how possible is it, that this tri- 
fling heart of mine may, at length, betray me into the 
same ruin ! and then, alas, into a ruin aggravated by 
all this patience and forbearance of thine! I am 
convinced that, sooner or later, religion must be my 
serious care, or I am undone; and yet my foolish 
heart draws back from the yoke: yet I stretch myself 
upon the bed of sloth, and cry out for " a little more 
sleep, a little more slumber, a little more folding of 
the hands to sleep," Prov. vi. 10. Thus does my 
corrupt heart plead for its own indulgence against 
the convictions of my better judgment. What shall 


I say? Lord, save me from myself! save me from 
the artifices and deceitfulness of sin; save me from 
the treachery of this perverse and degenerate nature 
of mine, and fix upon my mind what I have now- 
been reading. 

Lord, am I not now instructed in truths which 
were before quite unknown? Often have I been 
warned of the uncertainty of life, and of the greater 
uncertainty of the day of salvation : and I have form- 
ed some light purposes, and have begun to take a few 
irresolute steps in my way towards a return unto 
thee. But, alas ! I have been only, as it were, flut- 
tering about religion, and have never fixed upon it. 
All my resolutions have been scattered like smoke, 
or dispersed like a cloudy vapour before the wind. 
Oh, that thou wouldst now bring these things home 
to my heart with a more powerful conviction than it 
has ever yet felt! Oh, that thou wouldst pursue me 
with them, even when I flee from them, if I should 
even grow mad enough to endeavour to escape them 
any more ! May thy Spirit address me in the lan- 
guage of effectual terror; and add all the most pow- 
erful methods which thou knowest to be necessary, 
to awaken me from this lethargy, which must other- 
wise be mortal. May the sound of these things be 
in mine ears, " when I go out, and when I come in, 
when I lie down, and when I rise up," Deut. vi. 7. 
And if the repose of the night, and the business of 
the day, be for a while interrupted by the impression, 
be it so, God! if I may but thereby carry on my 
business with thee to better purpose, and at length 
secure a repose in thee, instead of all that terror which 
I now find, when " I think upon God, and am trou- 
bled," Psal. lxxvii. 3. 

Lord, " my flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and 
I am afraid of thy judgments," Psal. cxix. 120. I 
am afraid, lest, even now, that I have begun to think 
of religion, thou shouldst cut me off in this critical 
and important moment, before my thoughts grow to 
any ripeness; and blast in eternal death, the first bud- 
dings and openings of it in my mind. But oh, spare 


me, I earnestly entreat thee; for thy mercy's sake, 
spare me a little longer! It may be, through thy 
grace, I shall return. It may be, if thou continuest 
thy patience towards me a while longer, there may 
be some better fruit produced by this " cumberer of 
the ground," Luke xiii. 7, 8. And may the remem- 
brance of that long forbearance, which thou hast al- 
ready exercised towards me, prevent my continuing 
to trifle with thee, and with my own soul; from this 
day, Lord, from this hour, from this moment, may 
I be able to date more lasting impressions of religion 
than have ever yet been made upon my heart by 
all that 1 have ever read, or all that I have heard. 



Conviction of guilt necessary, 1. A charge of rebellion against 
God advanced, 2. Where it is shown, (1.) That all men are born 
under God's law, 3. (2.) That no man has perfectly kept it, 4. 
An appeal to the reader's conscience on this head, that he has not, 
5. (3.) That to have broken it is an evil inexpressibly great, 6 : 
Illustrated by a more particular view of the aggravations of this 
guilt, arising, (I.) From knowledge, 7. (2.) From divine favours 
received, 8. (3.) From convictions of conscience overborne, 9. 
(4.) From the strivings of God's Spirit resisted, 10. (5.) From 
vows and resolutions broken, 11. The charges summed up, and 
left upon the sinner's conscience, 12. The sinner's confession 
under a general conviction of guilt. 

1. As I am attempting to lead you to true religion, 
and not merely to some superficial form of it, I am 
sensible I can do it no otherwise than in the way of 
deep humiliation. And therefore, supposing you are 
persuaded, through the divine blessing on what you 
have before read, to take it into consideration, I would 
now endeavour, in the first place, with all the serious- 
ness I can, to make you heartily sensible of your 
guilt before God. For I well know, that unless you 


are convinced of this, and affected with the convic- 
tion, all the provisions of gospel grace will be slight- 
ed, and your soul infallibly destroyed in the midst of 
the noblest means appointed for its recovery. I am 
fully persuaded that thousands live and die in a course 
of sin, without feeling upon their hearts any sense 
that they are sinners; though they cannot for shame, 
but own it in words. And therefore let me deal 
faithfully with you, though I may seem to deal rough- 
ly; for complaisance is not to give law to addresses 
in which the life of your soul is concerned. 

2. Permit me, therefore, sinner, to consider my- 
self at this time as an advocate for God ; as one em- 
ployed in his name to plead against thee, and to 
charge thee with nothing less than being a rebel and 
a traitor against the sovereign Majesty of heaven and 
earth. However thou may est be dignified or distin- 
guished among men; if the noblest blood run in thy 
veins; if thy seat were among princes, and thine arm 
were " the terror of the mighty in the land of the liv- 
ing," Ezek. xxxii. 27, it would be necessary thou 
shouldst be told, and told plainly, thou hast broken 
the " laws of the King of kings," and by the breach 
of them art become obnoxious to his righteous con- 

3. Your conscience tells you, that you were born 
the natural subject of God: born under the indispen- 
sable obligations of his law. For it is most apparent, 
that the constitution of your rational nature, which 
makes you capable of receiving law from God, binds 
you to obey it. And it is equally evident and cer- 
tain, that you have not exactly obeyed this law; 
nay, that you have violated it in many aggravated 

4. Will you dare to deny this ? Will you dare to 
assert your innocence? Remember, it must be a 
complete innocence ; yes, and a perfect righteousness 
too; or it can stand you in no stead, further than to 
prove that, though a condemned sinner, you are not 
quite so criminal as some others, and will not have 
quite so hot a place in hell as they. And when this is 


considered, will you plead not guilty to the charge? 
Search the records of your own conscience, for God 
searches them: ask it seriously, "Have you never 
in your lives sinned against God?" Solomon de- 
clared, that, in his day there was "not a just man 
upon earth, who did good, and sinned not," Eccles. 
vii. 20, and the apostle Paul, that " all had sinned 
and had come short of the glory of God," Rom. iii. 
25; that "both Jews and Gentiles," (which, you 
know comprehended the whole human race,) " were 
all under sin," Rom. ii. 9. And can you pretend any 
imaginable reason to believe the world is grown so 
much better since their days, that any should now 
plead their own case as an exception? Or will you, 
however, presume to rise in the face of the omnisci- 
ent Majesty of heaven, and say, " I am the man?" 

5. Supposing, as before, you have been free from 
those gross acts of immorality, which are so perni- 
cious to society, that they have generally been pun- 
ishable by human laws; can you pretend that you 
have not, in smaller instances, violated the rules of 
piety, of temperance, and of charity ? Is there any one 
person, who has intimately known you, that would 
not be able to testify you had said or done some- 
thing amiss? Or, if others could not convict you, 
would not your own heart do it? Does it not prove 
you guilty of pride, of passion, of sensuality, of an 
excessive fondness for the world and its enjoyments; 
of murmuring, or at least of secretly repining against 
God under the strokes of an afflictive providence; of 
misspending a great deal of your time ; of abusing the 
gifts of God's bounty to vain, if not, in some in- 
stances, to pernicious purposes; of mocking him 
when you have pretended to engage in his worship, 
" drawing near to him with your mouth and your 
lips, while your heart has been far from him?" Isa. 
xxix. 13. Does not conscience condemn you of some 
one breach of the law at least? And, by one breach 
of it you are, in a sense, a scriptural sense, " become 
guilty of all," Jam. ii. 10, and are as incapable of 
being justified before God by any obedience of your 


own, as if you had committed ten thousand offences. 
But, in reality, there are ten thousand and more 
chargeable to your account. When you come to re- 
flect on all your sins of negligence, as well as on those 
of commission; on all the instances in which you 
have " failed to do good, when it was in the power 
of your hand to do it," Prov. hi. 21 ; on all the in- 
stances in which acts of devotion have been omitted, 
especially in secret; and on all those cases in which 
you have shown a stupid disregard to the honour of 
God, and to the temporal and eternal happiness of 
your fellow-creatures; when all these, I say, are re- 
viewed, the number will swell beyond all possibility 
of account, and force you to cry out, " Mine iniquities 
are more than the hairs of my head," Psal. xl. 12. 
They will appear in such a light before you, that 
your own heart will charge you with countless mul- 
titudes ; and how much more then " that God who is 
greater than your heart, and knoweth all things?" 1 
John hi. 20. 

6. And say, sinner, is it a little thing that you have 
presumed to set light by the authority of the God of 
heaven, and to violate his law, if it had been by mere 
carelessness and inattention? how much more heinous, 
therefore, is the guilt, when in so many instances you 
have done it knowingly and wilfully ? Give me leave 
seriously to ask you, and let me intreat you to ask 
your own soul, " against whom hast thou magnified 
thyself? against whom hast thou exalted thy voice," 
2 Kings xix. 22, or lifted up thy rebellious hand? On 
whose law, oh sinner, hast thou presumed to trample ? 
And whose friendship and whose enmity hast thou 
therefore dared to affront? Is it a man like thyself 
that thou hast insulted? is it only a temporal mon- 
arch? only one, "who can kill thy body, and then 
hath no more that he can do?" Luke xii. 4. Nay, 
sinner, thou wouldst not have dared to treat a tem- 
poral prince as thou hast treated the " King eternal, 
immortal, and invisible," 1 Tim. i. 17. No price 
could have hired thee to deal by the majesty of an 
earthly sovereign, as thou hast dealt by that God be- 


fore whom the cherubim and seraphim are continu- 
ally bowing. Not one opposing or complaining, dis- 
puting or murmuring word is heard among all the 
celestial legions when the intimations of his will are 
published to them ; and who art thou, oh wretched 
man, who art thou, that thou shouldst oppose him? 
that thou shouldst oppose and provoke a God of infi- 
nite power and terror, who needs but exert one single 
act of his sovereign will, and thou art in a moment 
stripped of every possession ; cut off from every hope ; 
destroyed and rooted up from existence, if that were 
his pleasure; or, what is inconceivably worse, con- 
signed over to the severest and most lasting agonies? 
Yet this is the God whom thou hast offended ; whom 
thou hast affronted to his face, presuming to violate 
his express laws in his very presence ; this is the God 
before whom thou standest as a convicted criminal ; 
convicted, not of one or two particular offences, but 
of thousands and of ten thousands ; of a course and 
series of rebellions and provocations, in which thou 
hast persisted, more or less, ever since thou wast 
born; and the particulars of which have been attend- 
ed with almost every conceivable circumstance of 
aggravation. Reflect on particulars, and deny the 
charge if you can. 

7. If knowledge be an aggravation of guilt, thy guilt, 
sinner, is greatly aggravated ! For thou wast born in 
Emmanuel's land, and God has " written to thee the 
great things of his law, yet thou hast accounted them 
as a strange thing," Hosea vii. 12. " Thou hast 
known to do good, and hast not done it," James iv. 
17, and therefore to thee the omission of it has been 
sin indeed. " Hast thou not known? hast thou not 
heard," Isa. xl. 28, wast thou not early taught the 
will of God in thine infant years? Hast thou not 
since received repeated lessons, by which it has been 
inculcated again and again, in public and in private, 
by preaching and reading the word of God ? nay, has 
thy duty not been, in some instances, so plain, that 
even without any instruction at all, thine own reason 
might easily have inferred it? and hast thou not also 


been warned of the consequences of disobedience? 
Hast thou not "known the righteous judgment of 
God, that they who commit such things are worthy 
of death? yet thou hast, perhaps, not only done the 
same, but hast taken pleasure in those that do them," 
Rom. i. 32, hast chosen them for thy most intimate 
friends and companions; so as thereby to strengthen 
by the force of example and converse, the hands of 
each other in your iniquities. 

8. Nay, more, if divine love and mercy be an 
aggravation of the sins committed against it, thy 
crimes, sinner, are heinously aggravated. Must 
thou not acknowledge it, foolish creature, and un- 
wise? hast thou not been "nourished and brought 
up by him as his child, and yet hast rebelled against 
him?" Isa. i. 2. Did not God " take you out of the 
womb?" Psal. xxii. 9; did he not watch over you in 
your infant days, and guard you from a multitude 
of dangers, which the most careful parent or nurse 
could not have observed or warded off? Has he 
not given you your rational powers? and is it not by 
him you have been favoured with every opportunity 
of improving them? Has he not every day supplied 
your wants with an unwearied liberality; and added, 
with respect to many who will read this, the delica- 
cies of life to its necessary supports? Has he not 
" heard you cry when trouble came upon you," Job 
xxvii. 9 ; and frequently appeared for your deliver- 
ance, when in the distresses of nature you had called 
upon him for help ? Has he not rescued you from 
ruin, when it seemed just ready to swallow you up ; 
and healed your diseases, when it seemed to all about 
you that the " residue of your days was cut off in the 
midst?" Psal. cii. 24. Or, if it has not been so, is not 
this long continued and uninterrupted health, which 
you have enjoyed for so many years, to be acknow- 
ledged as an equivalent obligation? Look around 
upon all your possessions, and say what one thing 
have you in the world which his goodness did not 
give you, and which he has not thus far preserved 
to you. Add to all this, the kind notices of his will 


which he has sent you; the tender expostulations 
which he has used with you to bring you to a wiser 
and a better temper; and the discoveries and gracious 
invitations of his gospel, which you have heard, and 
which you have despised: and then say whether 
your rebellion has not been aggravated by the vilest 
ingratitude, and whether that aggravation can be 
accounted small. 

9. Again, if it be any aggravation of sin to be 
committed against conscience, thy crimes, sinner, 
have been so aggravated. Consult the records of it, 
and then dispute the fact if you can. " There is a 
spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty 
giveth him understanding," Job xxxii. 8, and that 
understanding will act, and a secret conviction of 
being accountable to its Maker and Preserver is in- 
separable from the actings of it. It is easy to object 
to human remonstrances, and to give things false 
colourings before men ; but the heart often condemns, 
while the tongue excuses. Have you not often found 
it so ? has not conscience remonstrated against your 
past conduct, and have not these remonstrances been 
very painful too ? I have been assured by a gentle- 
man of undoubted credit, that when he was in the 
pursuit of all the gayest sensualities of life, and was 
reckoned one of the happiest of mankind, when he 
has seen a dog come into the room where he was 
among his merry companions, he has groaned in- 
wardly, and said, "Oh, that I had been that dog!" 
And hast thou, sinner, felt nothing like this? has 
thy conscience been so stupefied, so " seared with a 
hot iron," 1 Tim. iv. 2, that it has never cried out of 
any of the violences which have been done it? has 
it never warned thee of the fatal consequences of 
what thou hast done in opposition to it? These 
warnings are, in effect, the voice of God; they are 
the admonitions which he gave thee by his vicege- 
rent in thy breast. And when his sentence for thy 
evil works is executed upon thee in everlasting death, 
thou shalt hear that voice speaking to thee again in 
a louder tone and a severer accent than before: and 



thou shalt be tormented with its upbraidings through 
eternity, because thou wouldst not in time hearken 
to its admonitions. 

10. Let me add further: If it be any aggravation 
that sin has been committed after God has been mov- 
ing by his Spirit on the mind, surely your siu has 
been attended with that aggravation too. Under the 
Mosaic dispensation, dark and imperfect as it was, 
the Spirit strove with the Jews; else Stephen could 
not have charged it upon them that, through all their 
generations " they had always resisted him, 7 ' Acts 
vii. 51. Now, surely we may much more reason- 
ably apprehend that he strives with sinners under 
the gospel. And have you never experienced any 
thing of this kind, even when there has been no ex- 
ternal circumstance to awaken you, nor any pious 
teacher near you; have you never perceived some 
secret impulse upon your mind, leading you to think 
of religion, urging you to an immediate consideration 
of it, sweetly inviting you to make trial of it, and 
warning you that you would lament this stupid ne- 
glect? sinner, why were not these happy motions 
attended to? why did you not, as it were, spread out 
all the sails of your soul to catch that heavenly, that 
favourable breeze ? But you have carelessly neglect- 
ed it: you have overborne these kind influences: 
how reasonably then might the sentence have gone 
forth in righteous displeasure, " My Spirit shall no 
more strive," Gen. vi. 3. And, indeed, who can say 
that it is not already gone forth? If you feel no 
secret agitation of mind, no remorse, no awakening, 
while you read such a remonstrance as this, there 
will be room, great room, to suspect it. 

11. There is indeed one aggravation more, which 
may not attend your guilt; I mean that of being 
committed against solemn covenant engagements: a 
circumstance which has lain heavy on the consciences 
of many, who perhaps, in the main series of their 
lives, have served God with great integrity. But let 
me call you to think to what this is owing. Is it not, 
that you have never personally made any solemn 


profession of devoting yourself to God at all ? have 
never done any thing which has appeared to your 
own apprehension an action by which you made a 
covenant with him ; though you have heard so much 
of his covenant, though you have been so solemnly 
and so tenderly invited to it? And in this view, how 
monstrous must this circumstance appear, which at 
first was mentioned as some alleviation of guilt ! yet 
I must add, that you are not, perhaps, altogether so 
free from guilt on this head as you may at first ima- 
gine. I will not insist on the covenant which your 
parents made in your name when they devoted you 
to God in baptism; though it is really a weighty mat- 
ter, and by calling yourself a Christian you have pro- 
fessed to own and avow what, they then did; but I 
would remind you of what may have been more per- 
sonal and express. Has your heart been, even from 
your youth, hardened to so uncommon a degree, that 
you have never cried to God in any season of danger 
and difficulty? and did you never mingle vows with 
those cries? Did you never promise, that if God 
would hear and help you in that hour of extremity, 
you would forsake your sins, and serve him as long 
as you lived? He heard and helped you, or you had 
not been reading these lines; and by such deliverance 
did, as it were, bind down your vows upon you: and 
therefore your guilt in the violation of them remains 
before him, though you are stupid enough to forget 
them. Nothing is forgotten, nothing is overlooked 
by him; and the day will come when the record shall 
be laid before you too. 

12. And now, sinner, think seriously with thy- 
self what defence thou wilt make to all this. Pre- 
pare thine apology, call thy witnesses; make thine 
appeal from him whom thou hast thus offended to 
some superior judge, if such there be. Alas, those 
apologies are so weak and vain, that one of thy fel- 
low-worms may easily detect and confound them, as 
I will endeavour presently to show thee. But thy 
foreboding conscience already knows the issue. Thou 
art convicted; convicted of the most aggravated of- 


fences. Thou " hast not humbled thine heart, but 
lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven," Dan. 
v. 22, 23; and " thy sentence shall come forth from 
his presence," Psal. xvii. 2. Thou hast violated his 
known laws; thou hast despised and abused his num- 
berless mercies: thou hast affronted conscience, his 
vicegerent in thy soul; thou hast resisted and grieved 
his Spirit; thou hast trifled with him in all thy pre- 
tended submissions; and, in one word, and that his 
own, " thou hast done evil things as thou couldst," 
Jer. iii. 5. Thousands are, no doubt, already in hell, 
whose guilt never equalled thine; and it is astonish- 
ing, that God has spared thee to read this represen- 
tation of the case, or to make any pause upon it. Oh 
waste not so precious a moment, but enter as atten- 
tively, and as numbly as thou canst, into those reflec- 
tions, which suit a case so lamentable and so terrible 
as thine. 


Oh God! thou injured Sovereign, thou all penetra- 
ting and almighty Judge! what shall I say to this 
charge? Shall I pretend I am wronged by it, and 
stand on the defence in thy presence ? I dare not do 
it; for "thou knowest my foolishness, and none of 
my sins are hid from thee," Psal. lxix. 5. My con- 
science tells me, that a denial of my crimes would 
only increase them, and add new fuel to the fire of 
thy deserved wrath. " If I justify myself, mine own 
mouth will condemn me ; if I say I am perfect, it will 
also prove me perverse," Job ix. 20. For " innume- 
rable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities 
have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to 
look up: they are," as I have been told in thy name, 
" more than the hairs of my head, and therefore my 
heart faileth me," Psal. xl. 12. I am more guilty 
than it is possible for another to declare or represent. 
My heart speaks more than any other accuser. And 
thou, Lord, art much " greater than my heart, and 
knowest all things," 1 John iii. 20. 


What has my life been but a course of rebellion 
against thee? It is not this or that particular action 
alone I have to lament. Nothing has been right in 
its principal views and ends. My whole soul has 
been disordered; all my thoughts, my affections, my 
desires, my pursuits, have been wretchedly alienated 
from thee. I have acted as if I had hated thee, who 
art infinitely the loveliest of all beings; as if I had 
been contriving how I might tempt thee to the utter- 
most, and weary out thy patience, marvellous as it 
is. My actions have been evil ; my words yet more 
evil than they; and, blessed God, my heart how 
much more corrupt than either! What an inex- 
bausted fountain of sin has there been in it? "a foun- 
tain of original corruption," which mingled its bitter 
streams with the days of early childhood; and which, 
alas! flows on even to this day beyond what actions 
or words could express. I see this to have been the 
case, with regard to what I can particularly survey ; 
but, oh, how many months and years have I forgot- 
ten, concerning which I only know this in the gene- 
ral, that they are much like those I can remember, 
except it be that I have been growing worse and 
worse, and provoking thy patience more and more, 
though every new exercise of it was more and more 

And how am I astonished that thy forbearance is 
still continued ! It is, " because thou art God, and 
not man," Hos. xi. 9. Had I, a sinful worm, been 
thus injured, I could not have endured it. Had I 
been a prince, I had long since done justice on any 
rebel, whose crimes had borne but a distant resem- 
blance to mine. Had I been a parent, I had long 
since cast off the ungrateful child, who had made me 
such a return as I have all my life long been making 
to thee, thou Father of my spirit! The flame of 
natural affection would have been extinguished, and 
his sight, and his very name, would have become 
hateful to me. Why then, Lord, am I not " cast 
out from thy presence," Jer. Hi. 3; why am I not 
sealed up under an irreversible sentence of destruc- 


tion? That I live, I owe to thine indulgence. But, 
oh, if there be yet any way of deliverance, if there 
be yet any hope for so guilty a creature, may it be 
opened upon me by thy gospel and thy grace. And 
if any further alarm, humiliation, or terror, be neces- 
sary to my security and salvation, may I meet them, 
and bear them all. Wound mine heart, Lord, so 
that thou wilt but afterwards heal it ; and break it in 
pieces, if thou wilt but at length condescend to bind 
it up, Hos. vi. 1. 



The vanity of those pleas, which sinners may secretly confide in, is 
so apparent, that they will be ashamed at last to mention them 
before God, 1, 2. Such as, (1.) That they descended from pious 
parents, 3. (2.) That they had attended to the speculative part 
of religion, 4. (3.) That they had entertained sound notions, 5, 
(4.) That they had expressed a zealous regard to religion, and 
attended the outward forms of worship with those they appre- 
hended the purest churches, 6, 7. (5.) That they had been free 
from gross immoralities, 8. (6.) That they did not think the 
consequence of neglecting religion would have been so fatal, 9, 
(7.) That they could not do otherwise than they did, JO. Con- 
elusion, 11. With the meditation of a convinced sinner, giving 
up his vain pleas before God. 

1. My last discourse left the sinner in very alarming 
and very pitiable circumstances ; a criminal convicted 
at the bar of God, disarmed of all pretences to per- 
fect innocence and sinless obedience, and consequent- 
ly obnoxious to the sentence of a holy law, which 
can make no allowance for any transgression, no, 
not for the least ; but pronounces death and a curse 
against every act of disobedience : how much more, 
then, against those numberless and aggravated acts 
of rebellion, of which, sinner, thy conscience has 
condemned thee before God ! I would hope some 
of my readers will ingenuously fall under the convic- 
tion, and not think of making any apology: for, sure 


I am, that humbly to plead guilty at the divine bar, 
is the most decent, and, all things considered, the 
most prudent thing that can be done in such un- 
happy circumstances. Yet I know the treachery and 
the self-flattery of a sinful and a corrupted heart. I 
know what excuses it makes ; and how, when it is 
driven from one refuge it flies to another, to fortify 
itself against full conviction, and to persuade, not 
merely another, but itself, " That, if it has been in 
some instances to blame, it is not quite so criminal as 
was represented ; that there are at least considerations 
that plead in its favour, which, if they cannot j ustify, 
will, in some degree, excuse." A secret reserve of 
this kind, sometimes perhaps scarce formed into a 
distinct reflection, breaks the force of conviction, and 
often prevents that deep humiliation before God, 
which is the happiest token of an approaching deliv- 
erance. I will, therefore, examine into some of these 
particulars; and for that purpose would seriously ask 
thee, sinner, what thou hast to offer in arrest of 
judgment, what plea thou canst urge for thyself why 
the sentence of God should not go forth against thee, 
and why thou shouldst not fall into the hands of his 

2. But this I must premise, that the question is 
not, how thou wouldst answer to me, a weak sinful 
worm like thyself, who am shortly to stand with thee 
at the same bar: (" the Lord grant that I may find 
mercy of the Lord in that day," 2 Tim. i. 18;) but, 
what wilt thou reply to thy Judge ? What couldst 
thou plead if thou wast now actually before his tri- 
bunal; where to multiply vain words, and to frame 
idle apologies, would be but to increase thy guilt and 
provocation? Surely the very thought of his pre- 
sence must supersede a thousand of those trifling 
excuses which now sometimes impose on " a genera- 
tion that are pure in their own eyes, though they are 
not washed from their filthiness," Prov. xxx. 12; or, 
while they are conscious of their own impurities, 
trust in words that cannot profit, Jer. vii. 8, and 
" lean upon broken reeds." Isa. xxxvi. 6. 


3. You will not, to be sure, in such circumstances, 
plead " That you are descended from pious parents." 
That was, indeed, your privilege, and wo be to you 
that you have abused it, and " forsaken the God of 
your fathers," 2 Chron. vii. 22. Ishmael was imme- 
diately descended from Abraham, the friend of God ; 
and Esau was the son of Isaac, who was born ac- 
cording to the promise ; yet, you know, they were 
both cut off from the blessing, to which they appre- 
hended they had a kind of hereditary claim. You 
may remember that our Lord does not only speak 
of one who could call Abraham father, who was 
" tormented in flames," Luke xvi. 24, but expressly 
declares, that " many of the children of the kingdom 
shall be shut out of it;" and, when others come from 
the most distant parts to sit down in it, shall be 
distinguished from their companions in misery only 
by louder accents of lamentation, and more furious 
"gnashing of the teeth," Matt. viii. 11, 12. 

4. Nor will you then presume to plead, « That 
you had exercised your thoughts about the specula- 
tive part of religion:" for to what end can this serve 
but to increase your condemnation? Since you have 
broken God's law, since you have contradicted the 
most obvious and apparent obligations of religion, to 
have inquired into it, and argued upon it, is a cir- 
cumstance that proves your guilt more audacious. 
What ! did you think religion was merely an exer- 
cise of men's wit, and the amusement of their cu- 
riosity? If you argued about it on the principles of 
common sense, you must have judged and proved it 
to be a practical thing: and, if it was so, why did you 
not practise accordingly? You knew the particular 
branches of it; and why then did you not attend to 
every one of them? To have pleaded an unavoid- 
able ignorance would have been the happiest plea 
that could have remained for you: nay, an actual, 
though faulty, ignorance would have been some little 
allay of your guilt. But if, by your own confes- 
sion, you have " known your Master's will, and have 
not done it," you bear witness against yourself, that 


you deserve to be "beaten with many stripes," Luke 
xii. 47. 

5. Nor yet again, will it suffice to say, " That you 
have had right notions, both of the doctrines and the 
precepts of religion." Your advantage for practising 
it was therefore the greater: but understanding and 
acting right can never go for the same thing in the 
judgment of God or of man. In " believing there is 
one God" you have done well; but " the devils also 
believe, and tremble," James ii. 19. In acknowledg- 
ing Christ to be the Son of God, and the Holy One, 
you have done well too; but, you know, the unclean 
spirits made this very orthodox confession, Luke 
iv. 34, 41, and yet they are " reserved in everlasting 
chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the 
great day," Jude ver. 6. And will you place any 
secret confidence in that which might be pleaded by 
the infernal spirits as well as by you ? 

6. But, perhaps, you may think of pleading, " That 
you have actually done something in religion." Hav- 
ing judged what faith was the soundest, and what 
worship the purest, you entered yourselves into those 
societies where such articles of faith were professed, 
and such forms of worship were practised; and, 
amongst these, you have signalized yourselves, by 
the exactness of your attendance, by the zeal with 
which you have espoused their cause, and by the 
earnestness with which you have contended for such 
principles and practices. — sinner, I much fear that 
this zeal of thine about the circumstantials of religion 
will swell thine account, rather than be allowed in 
abatement of it. He that searches thine heart knows 
from whence it arose, and how far it extended. Per- 
haps he sees that it was all hypocrisy; an artful veil, 
under which thou wast carrying on thy mean designs 
for this world; while the sacred names of God and 
religion were profaned and prostituted in the basest 
manner; and, if so, thou art cursed with a distin- 
guished curse for so daring an insult on the divine 
omniscience, as well as justice. Or, perhaps, the 
earnestness with which you have been " contending 


for the faith' ' and worship " which was once deliver- 
ed to the saints/' Jude ver. 3, or which it is possible, 
you may rashly have concluded to be that, might be 
mere pride and bitterness of spirit: and all the zeal 
you have expressed might possibly arise from a con- 
fidence iii your own judgment, from an impatience 
of contradiction, or from a secret malignity of spirit, 
which delighted itself in condemning, and even in 
worrying others : yea, which, if I may be allowed 
the expression, fiercely preyed upon religion, as the 
tiger upon the lamb, to turn it into a nature most 
contrary to its own. And shall this screen you be- 
fore the great tribunal? Shall it not rather awaken 
the displeasure it is pleaded to avert? 

7. But say that this your zeal for notions and forms 
has been ever so well intended, and, so far as it has 
gone, ever so well conducted too ; what will that avail 
towards vindicating thee in so many instances of neg- 
ligence and disobedience as are recorded against thee 
" in the book of God's remembrance ?" Were the 
revealed doctrines of the gospel to be earnestly main- 
tained, (as indeed they ought,) and was the great 
practical purpose for which they were revealed to be 
forgot? Was the very mint, and anise, and cummin, 
to be tithed, and were " the weightier matters of the 
law to be omitted," Matt, xxiii. 23, and even that 
love to God, which is its "first and great command," 
Matt. xxii. 38. Oh, how wilt thou be able to vindi- 
cate even the justest sentence thou hast passed on 
others for their infidelity, or for their disobedience, 
without being " condemned out of thine own mouth," 
Luke xix. 22. 

8. Will you then plead " your fair moral character, 
your works of righteousness and of mercy?" Had 
your obedience to the law of God been complete, the 
plea might be allowed as important and valid; but I 
have supposed and proved above, that conscience 
testifies to the contrary; and you will not now dare 
to contradict it. I add further, had these works of 
yours, which you now urge, proceeded from a sincere 
love to God, and a genuine faith in the Lord Jesus 


Christ, you would not have thought of pleading them 
any otherwise than as an evidence of your interest in 
the gospel covenant, and in the blessings of it, pro- 
cured by the righteousness and blood of the Redeem- 
er : and that faith, had it been sincere, would have 
been attended with such deep humility, and with 
such solemn apprehensions of the divine holiness 
and glory; that, instead of pleading any works of 
your own before God, you would rather have im- 
plored his pardon for the mixture of sinful imperfec- 
tion attending the very best of them. Now, as you 
are a stranger to this humbling and sanctifying prin- 
ciple (as here, in this address, I suppose my reader 
to be) it is absolutely necessary you should be plainly 
and faithfully told, that neither sobriety, nor honesty, 
nor humanity, will justify you before the tribunal of 
God, when he " lays judgment to the line, and right- 
eousness to the plummet," Isa. xxviii. 17, and exa- 
mines all your actions, and all your thoughts with 
the strictest severity. You have not been a drunkard, 
an adulterer, or a robber. So far it is well. You 
stand before a righteous God, who will do you am- 
ple justice; and therefore will not condemn you for 
drunkenness, adultery, or robbery. But you have 
forgotten him, your Parent and your Benefactor; you 
have " cast off fear and restrained prayer before him/' 
Job xv. 4, you have despised the blood of his Son, 
and all the immortal blessings which he purchased 
with it. For this, therefore, you are judged, and 
condemned. And as for any thing that has looked 
like virtue and humanity in your temper and con- 
duct, the exercise of it has, in a great measure, been 
its own reward, if there were any thing more than 
form and artifice in it; and the various bounties of 
divine Providence to you amidst all your numberless 
provocations, have been a thousand times more than 
an equivalent for such defective and imperfect vir- 
tues as these. You remain, therefore, chargeable 
with the guilt of a thousand offences, for which you 
have no excuse at all ; though there are some other 
instances in which you did not grossly offend. And 


those good works, in which you have been so ready- 
to trust, will no more vindicate you in his awful pre- 
sence, than a man's kindness to his poor neighbours 
would be allowed as a plea in arrest of judgment, 
when he stood convicted of high treason against his 

9. But you will, perhaps, be ready to say, " You 
did not expect all this : you did not think the conse- 
quences of neglecting religion would have been so 
fatal." And why did you not think it ? Why did 
you not examine more attentively and more impar- 
tially? why did you suffer the pride and folly of your 
vain heart to take up with such superficial appear- 
ances, and trust the light suggestions of your own 
prejudiced mind against the express declaration of 
the word of God? Had you reflected on his charac- 
ter, as the supreme Governor of the world, you would 
have seen the necessity of such a day of retribution 
as we are now referring to. Had you regarded the 
Scripture, the divine authority of which you profess- 
ed to believe, every page might have taught you to 
expect it. "You did not think of religion?" and of 
what were you thinking when you forgot or neglect- 
ed it? Had you too much employment of another 
kind? of what kind, 1 beseech you? What end 
could you propose by any thing else of equal mo- 
ment? Nay, with all your engagements, conscience 
will tell you that there have been seasons when, for 
want of thought, time and life have been a burden to 
you : yet you guarded against thought as against an 
enemy, and cast up, as it were, an intrenchment of 
inconsideration around you on every side, as if it had 
been to defend you from the most dangerous inva- 
sion. God knew you were thoughtless; and there- 
fore he sent you " line upon line, and precept upon 
precept," Isa. xxviii. 10, in such plain language that 
it needed no genius or study to understand it. He 
tried you too with afflictions as well as with mercies, 
to awaken you out of your fatal lethargy; and yet, 
when awakened, you would lie down again upon the 
bed of sloth. And now, pleasing as your dreams 


might be, "you must lie down in sorrow/' Isa. 1. 11. 
Reflection has at last overtaken you, and must be 
heard as a tormentor, since it might not be heard as 
a friend. 

10. But some may, perhaps, imagine, that one 
important apology is yet unheard, and that there 
may be room to say, " You were, by the necessity of 
your nature, impelled to those things which are now 
charged upon you as crimes ; whereas it was not in 
your power to have avoided them in the circum- 
stances in which you were placed." If this will do 
any thing, it indeed promises to do much ; so much, 
that it will amount to nothing. If I were disposed 
to answer you upon the folly and madness of your 
own principles, I might say, that the same considera- 
tion which proves it was necessary for you to offend, 
proves also that it is necessary for God to punish 
you : and that, indeed, he cannot but do it : and I 
might further say, with an excellent writer, " That 
the same principles which destroy the injustice of 
sins, destroy the injustice of punishments too." But, 
if you cannot admit this, if you should still reply in 
spite of principle, That it must be unjust to punish 
you for an action utterly and absolutely unavoidable ; 
I really think you would answer right. But in that 
answer you will contradict your own scheme, (as 
I observed above :) and I leave your conscience to 
judge what sort of a scheme that must be which 
would make all kind of punishment unjust ; for the 
argument will, on the whole, be the same whether 
with regard to human punishment or divine. It is 
a scheme full of confusion and horror. You would 
not, I am sure, take it from a servant who had rob- 
bed you, and then fired your house ; you would never 
inwardly believe that he could not have helped it, or 
think that he had fairly excused himself by such a 
plea. And I am persuaded, you would be so far 
from presuming to offer it to God at the great day, 
that you would not venture to turn it into a prayer 
even now. Imagine you saw a malefactor dying 



with such words as these : " God, it is true, I did 
indeed rob and murder my fellow-creature ; but thou 
knowest that, as my circumstances were ordered, I 
could not do otherwise : my will was irresistibly de- 
termined by the motives which thou didst set before 
me ; and I could as well have shaken the foundations 
of the earth, or darkened the sun in the firmament, 
as have resisted the impulse which bore me on." I 
put it to your conscience, whether you would not 
look on such a speech as this with detestation, as one 
enormity added to another. Yet, if the excuse would 
have any weight in your mouth, it would have equal 
weight in his, or would be equally applicable to any 
the most shocking occasion. But, indeed, it is so 
contrary to the plainest principles of common reason, 
that I can hardly persuade myself any one could 
seriously and thoroughly believe it; and should ima- 
gine my time very ill employed here, if I were to set 
myself to combat those pretences to argument, by 
which the wantonness of human wit has attempted 
to varnish it over. 

11. You see, then, on the whole, the vanity of all 
your pleas, and how easily the most plausible of them 
might be silenced by a mortal man like yourself; how 
much more, then, by Him who searches all hearts, 
and can, in a moment, flash in upon the conscience 
a most powerful and irresistible conviction? What 
then can you do while you stand convicted in the 
presence of God? what should you do but hold your 
peace under an inward sense of your inexcusable 
guilt, and prepare yourself to hear the sentence which 
his law pronounces against you? You must feel the 
execution of it, if the gospel does not at length de- 
liver you; and you must feel something of the terror 
of it before you can be excited to seek to that gospel 
for deliverance. 



Deplorable condition to which I am indeed redu- 
ced! " I have sinned;" and " what shall I say unto 
thee, thou preserver of men," Job vii. 20. What 
shall I dare to say? Fool that I was, to amuse my- 
self with such trifling excuses as these, and to ima- 
gine they could have any weight in thy tremendous 
presence ; or that I should be able so much as to men- 
tion them there. I cannot presume to do it; I am 
silent and confounded. My hopes, alas, are slain, 
and my soul itself is ready to die too, so far as an 
immortal soul can die, and I am almost ready to say, 
Oh that I could die entirely ! I am indeed a criminal 
in the hand of Justice, quite disarmed, and stripped 
of the weapons in which I trusted. Dissimulation 
can only add provocation to provocation. I will 
therefore plainly and freely own it. I have acted as 
if I " thought God was altogether such a one as my- 
self: but," he has said, " I will reprove thee: I will 
set thy sins in order before thine eyes, Psal. 1. 21, 
will marshal them in battle array." And oh, what 
a terrible kind of host do they appear, and how do 
they surround me beyond all possibility of escape ! 
my soul, they have, as it were, taken thee prison- 
er; and they are bearing thee away to the divine 

Thou must appear before it; thou must see the 
awful eternal Judge, who tries the very reins, Jer. 
xvii. 10, and who needs no other evidence, for he 
has himself been witness, Jer. xxix. 23, to all thy 
rebellion; thou must see him, my soul, sitting in 
judgment upon thee; and when he is strict to mark 
iniquity, Psal. cxxx. 3, how wilt thou " answer him 
for one of a thousand?" Job ix. 3. And if thou canst 
not answer him, in what language will he speak to 
thee? Lord, as things at present stand, I can expect 
no other language than that of condemnation. And 
what a condemnation is it! Let me reflect upon it; 


let me read my sentence before I hear it finally and 
irreversibly passed. I know he has recorded it in 
his word; and I know in the general, that the repre- 
sentation is made with a gracious design. I know 
that he would have us alarmed, that we may not be 
destroyed. Speak to me, therefore, God, while 
thou speakest not for the last time, and in circum- 
stances when thou wilt hear me no more. Speak in 
the language of effectual terror, so that it be not to 
speak me into final despair; and let thy word, how- 
ever painful in its operation, be " quick and power- 
ful, and sharper than any two-edged sword," Heb. 
iv. 12. Let me not vainly natter myself; let me not 
be left a wretched prey to those who would " pro- 
phesy smooth things to me," Isa. xxx. 10, till I am 
sealed up under wrath, and feel thy justice piercing 
my soul, and " the poison of thine arrows drinking 
up all my spirits," Job vi. 4. 

Before I enter upon the particular view, I know, 
in the general, that " it is a fearful thing to fall into 
the hands of the living God," Heb. x. 31. thou 
living God, in one sense, I am already fallen into 
thine hands. I am become obnoxious to thy dis- 
pleasure, justly obnoxious to it; and whatever thy 
sentence may be, when it " comes forth from thy 
presence," Psal. xvii. 2, 1 must condemn myself, and 
justify thee. Thou canst not treat me with more 
severity than mine iniquities have deserved; and 
how bitter soever that " cup of trembling" may be, 
Isa. li. 17, which thou shalt appoint for me, I give 
judgment against myself, that I deserve " to wring 
out the very dregs of it," Psal. lxxv. 8. 




The sinner called upon to hear his sentence, 1, 2. God's law does 
now in general pronounce a curse, 3. It pronounces death, 4, and 
being turned into hell, 5. The judgment-day shall come, 6. The 
solemnity of that grand process described according to scriptural 
representations of it, 7, 8, with a particular illustration of the 
sentence, " Depart accursed," &c. 9. The execution will cer- 
tainly and immediately "follow, 10. The sinner warned to pre- 
pare for enduring it, 11. The reflection of a sinner struck with 
the terror of his sentence. 

1. Hear, sinner, " and I will speak," Job xlii. 4, 
yet once more, as in the name of God ; of God, thine 
almighty Judge, who, if thou dost not attend to his 
servants, will, ere long, speak unto thee in a more 
immediate manner, with an energy and terror which 
thou shalt not be able -to resist. 

2. Thou hast been convicted as in his presence. 
Thy pleas have been overruled, or rather they have 
been silenced. It appears before God, it appears to 
thine own conscience, that thou hast nothing more to 
offer in arrest of judgment; therefore hear thy sen- 
tence, and summon up, if thou canst, all the powers 
of thy soul to bear the execution of it: " It is indeed 
a very small thing to be judged of man's judgment; 
but he that now judgeth thee is the Lord," 1 Cor. iv. 
3, 4. Hear therefore, and tremble, while I tell thee 
how he will speak to thee; or rather while I show 
thee, from express scripture, how he does even now 
speak, and what is the authentic and recorded sen- 
tence of his word, even of his word who has said, 
" Heaven and earth shall pass away ; but not one 
tittle of my word shall ever pass away," Matt. v. IS. 

3. The law of God speaks, not to thee alone, 
sinner, nor to thee by any particular address; but in 
a most universal language it speaks to all transgres- 
sors, and levels its terrors against all offences, great 
or small, without any exception: and this is its Ian- 


guage, " Cursed is every one that continueth not in 
all things which are written in the book of the law 
to do them," Gal. iii. 10. This is its voice to the 
whole world ; and this it speaks to thee. Its awful 
contents are thy personal concern, reader, and thy 
conscience knows it. Far from "continuing in all 
things that are written therein to do them," thou 
canst not but be sensible, that " innumerable evils 
have compassed thee about," Psal. xl. 12. It is then 
manifest "thou art the man" whom it condemns; 
thou art even now, " cursed with a curse," Mai. iii. 
9, as God emphatically speaks, " with the curse" of 
the most high God ; yea, " all the curses which are 
written in the book of the law, are pointed against 
thee," Deut. xxix. 20. God may righteously execute 
any of them upon thee in a moment; and though 
thou at present feelest none of them, yet, if infinite 
mercy does not prevent, it is but a little while, and 
they will "come into thy bowels like water," till 
thou art burst asunder with them, and shall penetrate 
"like oil into thy bones," Psalm cix. 18. 

4. Thus saith the Lord, "The soul that sinneth 
shall die," Ezek. xviii. 4. But thou hast sinned, and 
therefore thou art under a sentence of death: and, oh, 
unhappy creature, of what a death ! what will the 
end of these things be? That the agonies of dissolv- 
ing nature shall seize thee ; that thy soul shall be torn 
away from thy languishing body, and thou " return 
to the dust from whence thou wast taken," Psalm 
civ. 29, this is indeed one awful effect of sin. In 
these affecting characters has God, through all na- 
tions, and all ages of men, written the awful register 
and memorial of his holy abhorrence of it, and right- 
eous displeasure against it. But alas ! all this solemn 
pomp and horror of dying is but the opening of a 
dreadful scene. It is but a rough kind of stroke, by 
which the fetters are knocked off, when the criminal 
is led out to torture and execution. 

5. Thus saith the Lord, " the wicked shall be turn- 
ed into hell, even all the nations that forget God," 
Psalm ix. 17. Though there be whole nations of 


them, their multitudes and their power shall be no 
defence to them. They shall be driven into hell toge- 
ther; into that flaming prison which divine vengeance 
has prepared ; into Tophet, which is ordained of old, 
even for royal sinners as well as for others, so little 
can any human distinction protect. " He hath made 
it deep and large, the pile thereof is fire and much 
wood ; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brim- 
stone, shall kindle it," Isaiah xxx. 33, and the flaming 
torrent shall flow in upon it so fast, that it shall be 
turned into a sea of liquid fire ; or, as the Scripture 
also expresses it, " A lake burning with fire and brim- 
stone for ever and ever," Rev. xxi. 8, this is the 
second death, and the death to which thou, sinner, 
by the word of God, art doomed. 

6. And shall this sentence stand upon record in 
vain? shall the law speak it, and the gospel speak it? 
and shall it never be pronounced more audibly? and 
will God never require and execute the punishment? 
He will, sinner, require it, and he will execute it, 
though he may seem for a while to delay. For well 
dost thou know that " he hath appointed a day in the 
which he will judge the whole world in righteous- 
ness, by that Man whom he hath ordained, of which 
he hath given assurance in having raised him from 
the dead," Acts xvii. 31. And when God judgeth 
the world, reader, whoever thou art, he will judge 
thee : and while I remind thee of it, I would also re- 
member that he will judge me: and "knowing the 
terror of the Lord," 2 Cor. v. 11, that I may "deliver 
my own soul," Ezek. xxxiii. 9, I would with all 
plainness and sincerity labour to deliver thine. 

7. I, therefore, repeat the solemn warning : Thou, 
sinner, shalt "stand before the judgment-seat of 
Christ," 2 Cor. v. 10. Thou shalt see that pompous 
appearance, the description of which is grown so fa- 
miliar to thee, that the repetition of it makes no im- 
pression on thy mind: but surely, stupid as thou now 
art, the shrill trumpet of the archangel shall shake 
thy very soul : and if nothing else can awaken and 


alarm thee, the convulsions and flames of a dissolving 
world shall do it. 

8. Dost thou really think that the intent of Christ's 
final appearance is only to recover his people from 
the grave, and to raise them to glory and happiness? 
Whatever assurance thou hast that there shall be a 
resurrection of the just, thou hast the same that there 
shall also be a resurrection of the unjust, Acts xxiv. 
15, that he shall separate the rising dead one from 
another, " as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the 
goats," Matt. xxv. 32, with equal certainty, and with 
infinitely greater ease. Or can you imagine that he 
will only make an example of some flagrant and no- 
torious sinners, when it is said, that " all the dead, 
both small and great, shall stand before God/' Rev. 
xx. 12, and that even he who knew not his master's 
will, and, consequently, seems of all others to have 
had the fairest excuse for his omission to obey it, yet 
even he, for that very omission shall be beaten, though 
with fewer stripes? Luke xii. 48. Or, can you think 
that a sentence to be delivered with so much pomp 
and majesty, a sentence by which the righteous judg- 
ment of God is to be revealed, and to have its most 
conspicuous and final triumph, will be inconsiderable, 
or the punishment to which it shall consign the sin- 
ner be slight or tolerable ? There would have been 
little reason to apprehend that, even if we had been 
left barely to our own conjectures, what that sentence 
should be: but this is far from being the case. Our 
Lord Jesus Christ, in his infinite condescension and 
compassion, has been pleased to give us a copy of the 
sentence, and, no doubt, a most exact copy; and the 
words which contain it are worthy of being inscribed 
on every heart. The King, amidst all the splendour 
and dignity in which he shall then appear, shall say 
unto " those on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of 
my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you 
from the foundation of the world," Matt. xxv. 54, 
and where the word of a King is, there is power in- 
deed, Eccles. vhi. 4. And these words have a power 


which may justly animate the heart of the humble 
Christian under the most overwhelming sorrow; and 
may fill him with "joy unspeakable and full of glo- 
ry," 1 Pet. i. 8. To be pronounced the blessed of the 
Lord ! to be called to a kingdom ! to the immediate, 
the everlasting inheritance of it! and of such a king- 
dom ! so well prepared, so glorious, so complete, so 
exquisitely fitted for the delight and entertainment of 
such creatures so formed and so renewed, that it shall 
appear worthy the eternal counsels of God to have 
contrived it, worthy his eternal love to have prepared 
it, and to have delighted himself with the views of 
bestowing it upon his people! Behold, a blessed 
hope indeed! a lively glorious hope, to which we are 
begotten again by the resurrection of Christ from the 
dead, 1 Pet. i. 3, and formed by the sanctifying influ- 
ence of the Spirit of God upon our minds ! But it is 
a hope, from which thou, sinner, art at present ex- 
cluded : and methinks that it might be grievous, to 
reflect, " These gracious words shall Christ speak to 
some, to multitudes, but not to me ; on me there is no 
blessedness pronounced: for me there is no kingdom 
prepared." But is that all? Alas! sinner, our Lord 
has given thee a dreadful counterpart to this : he has 
told us what he will say to thee, if thou continuest 
what thou art; to thee, and all the nations of the im- 
penitent and unbelieving world, be they ever so nu- 
merous, be the rank of particular criminals ever so 
great. He shall say to the kings of the earth, who 
have been rebels against him, to " the great and rich 
men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, as 
well as to every bondman, and every freeman" of 
inferior rank, Rev. vi. 15, "Depart from me, ye 


devil and his angels," Matt. xxv. 41. Oh, pause 
upon these weighty words, that thou mayest enter 
into something of the importance of them ! 

9. He will say, Depart; yon shall be driven from 
his presence with disgrace and infamy; from Him, 
the source of life and blessedness, in a nearness to 
whom all the inhabitants of heaven continually re- 


joice: you shall depart accursed; you have broken 
God's law, and its curse falls upon you, and you are 
and shall be under that curse, that abiding curse; 
from that day forward you shall be regarded by God, 
and all his creatures, as an accursed and abominable 
thing; as the most detestable and the most miserable 
part of the creation: you shall go into fire; and, oh, 
consider into what fire. Is it merely into one fierce 
blaze, which shall consume you in a moment, though 
with exquisite pain? that were terrible: but, oh, such 
terrors are not to be named with these : thine, sinner, 
is everlasting fire; it is that which our Lord has 
in such awful terms described as prevailing there, 
" where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not 
quenched;" and then says a second time, "Where 
their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched;" 
and again, in wonderful compassion, a third time, 
" where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not 
quenched," Mark ix. 44, 46, 48. Nor was it origi- 
nally prepared, or principally intended for you; it 
was prepared for the devil and his angels: for those 
first grand rebels who were, immediately upon their 
fall, doomed to it; and since you have taken part 
with them in their apostasy, you must sink with 
them in that flaming ruin; and sink so much the 
deeper, as you have despised a Saviour who was 
never offered to them. These must be your com- 
panions, and your tormentors, with whom you must 
dwell for ever. And is it I that say this ? or say not 
the law and the gospel the same? Does not the Lord 
Jesus Christ expressly say it, "who is the faithful 
and true witness," Rev. iii. 14, even he who himself 
is to pronounce the sentence? 

10. And when it is thus pronounced, and pro- 
nounced by him, shall it not also be executed ? Who 
could imagine the contrary? who could imagine there 
should be all this pompous declaration to fill the mind 
only with vain terror, and that this sentence should 
vanish into smoke ? You may easily apprehend that 
this would be a greater reproach to the divine ad- 
ministration, than if sentence were never to be pass- 


ed ; and, therefore, we might easily have inferred the 
execution of it from the process of the preceding 
judgment. But lest the treacherous heart of a sinner 
should deceive him with so vain a hope, the assur- 
ance of that execution is immediately added in very 
memorable terms: It shall be done; it shall immedi- 
ately be done. Then, on that very day, while the 
sound of it is yet in their ears, " the wicked shall go 
away into everlasting punishment/' Matt. xxv. 46; 
and thou, reader, whoever thou art, being found 
in their number, shalt go away with them; shalt be 
driven on among all these wretched multitudes, and 
plunged with them into eternal ruin. The wide gates 
of hell shall be open to receive thee; they shall be 
shut upon thee for ever to inclose thee, and be fast 
barred by the almighty hand of divine justice, to pre- 
vent all hope, all possibility of escape for ever. 

11. And now prepare thyself "to meet the Lord 
thy God," Amos iv. 12; summon up all the resolu- 
tion of thy mind to endure such a sentence, such an 
execution as this : for " he will not meet thee as a 
man," Isa. xlvii. 3, whose heart may sometimes fail 
him, when about to exert a needful act of severity, 
so that compassion may prevail against reason and 
justice. No, he will meet thee as a God, whose 
schemes and purposes are as immovable as his throne. 
I, therefore, testify to thee in his name this day, that, 
if God be true, he will thus speak; and that if he be 
able, he will thus act. And, on supposition of thy 
continuance in thine impenitency and unbelief, thou 
art brought into this miserable case, that if God be 
not either false or weak, thou art undone, thou art 
eternally undone. 


Wretch that I am! what shall I do? or whither 
shall I flee ? "I am weighed in the balance, and am 
found wanting," Dan. v. 27. This is, indeed, my 
doom, the doom I am to expect from the mouth of 


Christ himself, from the mouth of him that died for 
the redemption and salvation of men. Dreadful sen- 
tence ! and so much the more dreadful when consid- 
ered in that view. To what shall I look to save me 
from it; to whom shall I call? Shall I say to the 
"rocks, fall upon me, and to the hills, cover me?" 
Luke xxiii. 30. What should 1 gain by that? Were 
I, indeed, overwhelmed with rocks and mountains, 
they could not conceal me from the notice of his 
eye; and his hand could reach me with as much ease 
there as any where else. 

Wretch indeed that I am! Oh that I had never 
been born! Oh that I had never known the dignity 
and prerogative of the rational nature! Fatal pre- 
rogative, indeed, that renders me obnoxious to con- 
demnation and wrath! Oh that I had never been 
instructed in the will of God at all, rather than that, 
being thus instructed, I should have disregarded and 
transgressed it ! Would to God I had been allied to 
the meanest of the human race, to them that come 
nearest to the state of the brutes, rather than that I 
should have had my lot in cultivated life, amidst so 
many of the improvements of reason, and (dreadful 
reflection) amidst so many of the advantages of reli- 
gion too, and thus to have perverted all to my own 
destruction. Oh that God would take away this 
rational soul! But, alas! it will live for ever, will 
live to feel the agonies of eternal death. Why have 
I seen the beauties and glories of a world like this, 
to exchange it for that flaming prison ? why have I 
tasted so many of my Creator's bounties, to wring 
out at last the dregs of his wrath? why have I known 
the delights of social life and friendly converse, to 
exchange them for the horrid company of devils and 
damned spirits in Tophet? Oh, "who can dwell 
with them in devouring flames ! who can lie down 
with them in everlasting, everlasting, everlasting 
burnings!" Isa. xxxiii. 14. 

But whom have I to blame in all this but myself? 
what have I to accuse but my own stupid incorrigi- 
ble folly? On what is all this terrible ruin to be 


charged, but on this one fatal cursed cause, that, 
having broken God's law, I rejected his gospel too? 

Yet stay, my soul, in the midst of all these dole- 
ful, foreboding complaints. Can I say that I have 
finally rejected the gospel? Am I not, to this day, 
under the sound of it? The sentence is not yet. gone 
forth against me in so determined a manner, as to be 
utterly irreversible. Through all this gloomy pros- 
pect one ray of hope breaks in, and it is possible I 
may yet be delivered. 

Reviving thought! rejoice in it, my soul, though 
it be with trembling; and turn immediately to that 
God who, though provoked by ten thousand offences, 
has not yet " sworn in his wrath, that thou shalt 
never" be permitted to hold further intercourse with 
him, or to "enter into his rest," Psal. xcv. 11. 

I do then, blessed Lord, prostrate myself in the 
dust before thee. I own I am a condemned and 
miserable creature ; but my language is that of the 
humble publican, " God be merciful to me a sinner," 
Luke xviii. 13. Some general and confused appre- 
hensions I have of a way by which I may possibly 
escape. God, whatever that way is, show it me, 
I beseech thee. Point it out so plainly, that I may 
not be able to mistake it. And oh, reconcile my 
heart to it, be it ever so humbling, be it ever so pain- 

Surely, Lord, I have much to learn; but be thou 
my teacher. Stay for a little thine uplifted hand; 
and, in thine infinite compassion, delay the stroke, 
till I inquire a little further how I may finally avoid 




The sinner urged to consider how he can be saved from this im- 
pending ruin, 1, 2. (1.) Not by any thing he can offer, 3. (2.) 
Nor by any thing he can endure, 4. (3.) Nor by any thing he 
can do in the course of future duty, 5. (4.) Nor by any alliance 
with fellow-sinners on earth, or in hell, 6 — 8. (5.) Nor by any 
interposition or intercession of angels or saints in his favour, 9. 
Hint of the only method, to be afterwards more largely explained, 
ib. The lamentation of a sinner in this miserable condition. 

1. Sinner, thou hast heard the sentence of God, as 
it stands upon record in his sacred and immutable 
word. And wilt thou lie down under it in everlast- 
ing despair? wilt thou make no attempt to be deli- 
vered from it, when it speaks nothing less than eter- 
nal death to thy soul ? If a criminal, condemned by- 
human laws, has but the least shadow of hope that 
he may possibly escape, he is all attention to it. If 
there be a friend who he thinks can help him, with 
what strong importunity does he entreat the interpo- 
sition of that friend ? And, even while he is before 
the judge, how difficult is it often to force him away 
from the bar, while the cry of Mercy, mercy, mercy, 
may be heard, though it be never so unreasonable? 
A mere possibility that it may make some impression, 
makes him eager in it, and unwilling to be silenced 
and removed. 

2. Wilt thou not then, sinner, ere yet execution 
is done, that execution which may, perhaps, be done 
this very day, wilt thou not cast about in thy thoughts 
what measures may be taken for deliverance? Yet 
what measures can be taken? Consider attentively; 
for it is an affair of moment. Thy wisdom, thy 
power, thy eloquence, or thine interest, can never be 
exerted on a greater occasion. If thou canst help 
thyself, do. If thou hast any secret source of relief, 
go not out of thyself for other assistance. If thou 


hast any sacrifice to offer, if thou hast any strength 
to exert, yea, if thou hast any allies on earth, or in 
the invisible world, who can defend and deliver thee, 
take thine own way, so that thou mayest but be de- 
livered at all, and we may not see thy ruin. But say, 
sinner, in the presence of God, what sacrifice thou 
wilt present, what strength thou wilt exert, what 
allies thou wilt have recourse to, on so urgent, so 
hopeless an occasion: for, hopeless I must indeed 
pronounce it, if such methods are taken. 

3. The justice of God is injured: hast thou any 
atonement to make to it? If thou wast brought to an 
inquiry and proposal, like that of the awakened sin- 
ner, " Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and 
bow myself before the high God? Shall I come be- 
fore him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year 
old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of 
rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?" Micah 
vi. 6, 7. Alas ! wert thou as great a prince as Solo- 
mon himself, and couldst thou indeed purchase such 
sacrifices as these, there would be no room to men- 
tion them, " Lebanon would not be sufficient to burn, 
nor all the beasts thereof for a burnt-offering," Isa. 
xl. 16. Even under that dispensation, which admit- 
ted and required sacrifices in some cases, the blood 
of bulls and of goats, though it exempted the offen- 
der from further temporal punishment, could not take 
away sin, Heb. x. 4, nor prevail by any means to 
purge the conscience in the sight of God. And that 
soul that had done aught presumptuously, was not 
allowed to bring any sin-offering, or trespass-offering 
at all, but was condemned to " die without mercy," 
Num. xv. 30. Now God and thy own conscience 
know that thine offences have not been merely the 
errors of ignorance and inadvertency, but that thou 
hast sinned with an high hand, in repeated aggrava- 
ted instances, as thou hast acknowledged already. — 
Shouldst thou add, with the wretched sinner described 
above, '• Shall I give my first-born for my transgres- 
sion, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" 
Micah vi. 7: what could the blood of a beloved 


child do in such a case, but dye thy crimes so much 
the deeper, and add a yet unknown horror to them? 
Thou hast offended a Being of infinite majesty; and 
if that offence is to be expiated by blood, it must be 
by another kind of blood than that which flows in 
the veins of thy children, or in thine own. 

4. Wilt thou then suffer thyself, till thou hast made 
full satisfaction? But how shall that satisfaction be 
made ? Shall it be by any calamities to be endured 
in this mortal momentary life? Is the justice of God 
then esteemed so little a thing, that the sorrows of a 
few days should suffice to answer its demands? Or 
dost thou think of future sufferings in the invisible 
world? If thou dost, that is not deliverance: and, 
with regard to that, I may venture to say, when thou 
hast made full satisfaction, thou wilt be released: 
when thou hast paid the utmost farthing of that debt, 
thy prison-doors shall be opened. In the mean time, 
thou must " make thy bed in hell," Psal. cxxxix. 8, 
and, unhappy man, wilt thou lie down there with 
a secret hope that the moment will come when the 
rigour of divine justice will not be able to inflict any 
thing more than thou hast endured, and when thou 
mayest claim thy discharge as a matter of right? It 
would indeed be well for thee if thou couldest carry 
down with thee such a hope, false and flattering as it 
is: but, alas! thou wilt see things in so just a light, 
that to have no comfort but this will be eternal des- 
pair. That one word of thy sentence, everlasting 
fire; that one declaration, "The worm dieth not, 
and the fire is not quenched;" will be sufficient to 
strike such a thought into black confusion, and to 
overwhelm thee with hopeless agony and horror. 

5. Or do you think that your future reformation 
and diligence in duty for the time to come will pro- 
cure your discharge from this sentence? Take heed, 
sinner, what kind of obedience thou thinkest of offer- 
ing to an holy God. That must be spotless and com- 
plete, which his infinite sanctity can approve and ac- 
cept, if he consider thee in thyself alone ; there must 
be no inconstancy, no forgetfulness, no mixture of sin 


attending it. And wilt thou, enfeebled as thou art, 
by so much original corruption, and so many sin- 
ful habits contracted by innumerable actual trans- 
gressions, undertake to render such an obedience and 
that for all the remainder of thy life ? In vain wouldst 
thou attempt it even but for one day. New guilt 
would immediately plunge thee into new ruin; but 
if it did not ; if from this moment to the very end 
of thy life all were as complete obedience as the law 
of God required from Adam in paradise, would that 
be sufficient to cancel past guilt? would it discharge 
an old debt, that thou hadst not contracted a new one ? 
Offer this to thy neighbour, and see if he will accept 
it for payment; and if he will not, wilt thou presume 
to offer it to thy God? 

6. But I will not multiply words on so plain a sub- 
ject. While I speak thus, time is passing away, death 
presses on, and judgment is approaching. And what 
can save thee from these awful scenes, or what can 
protect thee in them? Can the world save thee? that 
vain delusive idol of thy wishes and pursuits, to 
which thou art sacrificing thine eternal hopes? Well 
dost thou know that it will utterly forsake thee when 
thou needest it most ; and that not one of its enjoy- 
ments can be carried along with thee into the invisi- 
ble state ; no, not so much as a trifle to remember it 
by, if thou couldst desire to remember so inconstant 
and so treacherous a friend as the world has been. 

7. And when you are dead, or when you are dy- 
ing, can your sinful companions save you? Is there 
any one of them, if he were ever so desirous of doing 
it, that " can give unto God a ransom for you," Psa. 
xlix. 7, to deliver you from going down to the grave, 
or from going down to hell? Alas! you will proba- 
bably be so sensible of this, that when you lie on the 
borders of the grave, you will be unwilling to see or 
to converse with those that were once your favourite 
companions. They will afflict you rather than re- 
lieve you, even then ; how much less can they relieve 
you before the bar of God, when they are overwhelm- 
ed with their own condemnation? 



8. As for the powers of darkness, you are sure 
they will be far from any ability or inclination to help 
you. Satan has been watching and labouring for 
your destruction, and he will triumph in it. But if 
there could be any thing of an amicable confederacy 
between you, what would that be but an association 
in ruin? For the day of judgment of ungodly men 
will the judgment of these rebellious spirits; 
and the fire into which thou, sinner, must depart, 
is that which was " prepared for the devil and his 
angels," Matt. xxv. 41. 

9. Will the celestial spirits then save thee? will 
they interpose their power or their prayers in thy fa- 
vour? An interposition of power, when sentence is 
gone forth against thee, were an act of rebellion 
against Heaven, which these holy and excellent crea- 
tures would abhor. And when the final pleasure of 
the Judge is known, instead of interceding, in vain, 
for the wretched criminal, they would rather, with 
ardent zeal for the glory of their Lord, and cordial 
acquiescence in the determination of his wisdom and 
justice, prepare to execute it. Yea, difficult as it may 
at present be to conceive it, it is a certain truth, that 
the servants of Christ who now most tenderly love 
you, and most affectionately seek your salvation, not 
excepting those who are allied to you in the nearest 
bonds of nature, or of friendship, even they shall put 
their Amen to it. Now, indeed, their bowels yearn 
over you, and their eye poureth out tears on your 
account; now they expostulate with you, and plead 
with God for you, if by any means, while yet there 
is hope, you may be " plucked as a firebrand out of 
the burning," Amos iv. 11; but, alas! their remon- 
strances you will not regard ; and as for their prayers, 
what should they ask for you? what but this, that 
you may see yourselves to be undone ? and that utter- 
ly despairing of any help from yourselves, or from 
any created power, you may lie before God in hu 
mility and brokenness of heart ; and submitting your- 
selves to his righteous judgment, and in an utter re- 
nunciation of all self-dependence, and of all creature- 


dependence, you may lift up an humble look towards 
him, as almost from the depths of hell, if peradven- 
ture he may have compassion upon you, and may 
himself direct you to that only method of rescue 
which, while things continue as in present circum- 
stances they are, neither earth, nor hell, nor heaven, 
can afford you. 


Oh doleful, uncomfortable, helpless state ! wretch 
that I am, to have reduced myself to it ! Poor, emp- 
ty, miserable, abandoned creature! Where is my 
pride, and the haughtiness of my heart? Where are 
my idol deities, "whom I have loved and served, after 
whom I have walked, and whom I have sought," 
Jer. viii. 2, whilst I have been multiplying my trans- 
gressions against the Majesty of heaven? Is there 
no heart to have compassion upon me ? is there no 
hand to save me? " Have pity upon me, have pity 
upon me, my friends; for the hand of God hath 
touched me," Job xix. 21; has seized me. I feel it 
pressing me hard, and what shall I do? Perhaps 
they have pity upon me; but, alas, how feeble a 
compassion! Only if there be any where in the 
whole compass of nature any help, tell me where it 
may be found. point it out; direct me towards it; 
or rather, confounded and astonished as my mind is, 
take me by the hand and lead me to it. 

ye ministers of the Lord, whose office it is to 
guide and comfort distressed souls, take pity upon 
me. I fear I am a pattern of many other helpless 
creatures, who have the like need of your assistance. 
Lay aside your other cares to care for my soul; to 
care for this precious soul of mine, which lies as it 
were bleeding to death, (if that expression may be 
used,) while you, perhaps, hardly afford me a look; 
or, glancing an eye upon me, " pass over to the other 
side," Luke x. 32. Yet, alas! in a case like mine, 
what can your interposition avail, if it be alone? 


" If the Lord do not help me, how can ye help me," 
2 Kings vi. 27. 

Oh God of the spirits of all flesh, Num. xvi. 2, 
I lift up mine eyes unto thee, and " cry unto thee, as 
out of the belly of hell," Jonah ii. 2; I cry unto thee 
at least from the borders of it. Yet while I lie before 
thee in this infinite distress, I know that thine al- 
mighty power and boundless grace can still find out 
a way for my recovery. 

Thou art he whom I have most of all injured and 
affronted ; and yet from thee alone must I now seek 
redress. "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, 
and done evil in thy sight," Psal. Ii. 4; so that "thou 
mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be 
clear when thou judgest," though thou shouldst this 
moment adjudge me to eternal misery. And yet I 
find something that secretly draws me to thee, as if 
I might find rescue there where I have deserved the 
most aggravated destruction. Blessed God, " I have 
destroyed myself; but in thee is my help," Hos. xiii. 
9, if there can be help at all. 

I know, in the general, that "thy ways are not as 
our ways, nor thy thoughts as our thoughts;" but 
are as " high above them as the heavens are above 
the earth," Isa. lv. 8, 9. " Have mercy," therefore, 
" upon me, God, according to thy loving kindness, 
according to the multitude of thy tender mercies," 
Psal. Ii. 1. point out the path to the city of re- 
fuge ! lead me thyself " in the way everlasting," 
Psal. cxxxix. 24. I know, in the general, that thy 
gospel is the only remedy. teach thy servants to 
administer it ! prepare mine heart to receive it, 
and suffer not, as in many instances, that malignity 
which has spread itself through all my nature, to turn 
that noble medicine into poison. 




The awful things which have hitherto been said, intended not to 
grieve, but to help, 1. After some reflection on the pleasure with 
which a minister of the gospel may deliver the message with 
which he is charged, 2 ; and some reasons for the repetition of 
what is in speculation so generally known, 3 ; the author proceeds 
briefly to declare the substance of these glad tidings, viz : That 
God having, in his infinite compassion, sent his Son to die for 
sinners, is now reconcilable through him, 4 — 6 : so that the most 
heinous transgressions shall be entirely pardoned to believers, and 
they made completely and eternally happy, 7, 8. The sinner's 
reflection on this good news. 

1. My dear reader, it is the great design of the gos- 
pel, and, wherever it is cordially received, it is the 
glorious effect of it, to fill the heart with sentiments 
of love ; to teach us to abhor all unnecessary rigour 
and severity, and to delight, not in the grief, but in 
the happiness of our fellow-creatures. I can hardly 
apprehend how he can be a Christian, who takes 
pleasure in the distress which appears even in a 
brute, much less in that of a human mind ; and, espe- 
cially, in such distress as the thoughts I have been 
proposing must give, if there be any due attention to 
their weight and energy. I have often felt a tender 
regret while I have been representing these things; 
and I could have wished from mine heart, that it had 
not been necessary to have placed them in so severe 
and so painful a light. But now I am addressing 
myself to a part of my work, which I undertake with 
unutterable pleasure; and to that which indeed I had 
in view, in all those awful things which I have al- 
ready been laying before you. I have been show- 
ing you, that, if you hitherto have lived in a state of 
impenitence and sin, you are condemned by God's 
righteous judgment, and have in yourself no spring 
of hope and no possibility of deliverance. But I 
mean not to leave you under this sad apprehension, 


to lie down and die in despair, complaining of that 
cruel zeal which has " tormented you before the 
time," Matt. viii. 29. 

2. Arise, thou dejected soul, that art prostrate in 
the dust before God, and trembling under the terrors 
of his righteous sentence : for I am commissioned to 
tell thee, that though " thou hast destroyed thyself, 
in God is thine help," Hosea xiii. 9. I bring thee 
"good tidings of great joy," Luke ii. 10, which de- 
light my own heart while I proclaim them, and will, 
I hope, reach and revive thine ; even the tidings of 
salvation by the blood and righteousness of the Re- 
deemer. And I give it thee, for thy greater security, 
in the words of a gracious and forgiving God, that 
" he is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, 
and not imputing to them their trespasses," 2 Cor. v. 

3. This is the best news that ever was heard ; the 
most important message which God ever sent to his 
creatures ; and though I doubt not at all, but living, 
as you have done, in a Christian country, you have 
heard it often, perhaps a thousand and a thousand 
times, I will, with all simplicity and plainness, repeat 
it to you again, and repeat it as if you had never 
heard it before. If thou, sinner, shouldst now, for 
the first time, feel it, then will it be as a new gospel 
unto thee, though so familiar to thine ear ; nor shall 
it be grievous for me to speak what is so common, 
since to you it is safe and necessary, Phil. hi. 1. 
They who are most deeply and intimately acquainted 
with it, instead of being cloyed and satiated, will 
hear it with distinguished pleasure; and as for those 
who have hitherto slighted it, I am sure they had 
need to hear it again. Nor is it absolutely impossi- 
ble that some one soul, at least, may read these lines, 
who has never been clearly and fully instructed in 
this important doctrine, though his everlasting all de- 
pends on knowing and receiving it. 1 will therefore 
take care that such a one shall not have it to plead 
at the bar of God, that though he lived in a Christian 
country, he was never plainly and faithfully taught 


the doctrine of salvation by Jesus Christ, " the way, 
the truth, and the life, by whom alone we come unto 
the Father," John xiv. 6. 

4. I do therefore testify unto you this day, that the 
holy and gracious Majesty of heaven and earth, fore- 
seeing the fatal apostasy into which the whole hu- 
man race would fall, did not determine to deal in a 
way of strict and rigorous severity with us, so as to 
consign us over to universal ruin and inevitable dam- 
nation; but, on the contrary, he determined to enter 
into a treaty of peace and reconciliation, and to pub- 
lish to all, whom the gospel should reach, the express 
offers of life and glory, in a certain method, which 
his infinite wisdom judged suitable to the purity of 
his nature, and the honour of his government. This 
method was indeed a most astonishing one, which, 
familiar as it is to our thoughts and our tongues, I 
cannot recollect and mention without great amaze- 
ment. He determined to send his own Son into the 
world, " the brightness of his glory, and the express 
image of his person," Heb. i. 3, partaker of his own 
divine perfections and honours, to be not merely a 
teacher of righteousness, and a messenger of grace, 
but also a sacrifice for the sins of men; and would 
consent to his saving them on no other condition but 
this, that he should not only labour, but die in the 

5. Accordingly, at such a period of time as infinite 
Wisdom saw most convenient, the Lord Jesus Christ 
appeared in human flesh; and after he had gone 
through incessant and long continued fatigues, and 
borne all the preceding injuries which the ingratitude 
and malice of men could inflict, he voluntarily " sub- 
mitted himself to death, even the death of the cross," 
Phil. ii. 8, and having been "delivered for our of- 
fences, was raised again for our justification," Rom. 
iv. 25. After his resurrection he continued long 
enough on earth to give his followers most convincing 
evidences of it, and then " ascended into heaven in 
their sight," Acts i. 9 — 11, and sent down his Spi- 
rit from thence upon his apostles, to enable them, in 


the most persuasive and authoritative manner, to 
" preach the gospel," Luke xxiv. 40, and he has given 
it in charge to them, and to those who, in every age, 
succeed them in this part of their office, that it should 
be published " to every creature," Mark xvi. 15, that 
all who believe in it may be saved, by virtue of its 
abiding energy, and the immutable power and grace 
of its divine author, who is " the same yesterday, to- 
day, and for ever," Heb. xiii. 8. 

6. This gospel do I therefore now preach, and pro- 
claim unto thee, reader, with the sincerest desire 
that, through divine grace, it may this very day be 
" salvation to thy soul," Luke xix. 9. Know there- 
fore, and consider it, whosoever thou art, that as 
surely as these words are now before thine eyes, so 
sure it is that the incarnate Son of God " was made 
a spectacle to the " world, and to angels, and to men," 
1 Cor. iv. 9, his back torn with scourges, his head 
with thorns, his limbs stretched out as on a rack, and 
nailed to the accursed tree; and in this miserable 
condition he was hung up by his hands and his feet, 
as an object of public infamy and contempt. Thus 
did he die, in the midst of all the taunts and insults 
of his cruel enemies who thirsted for his blood; and 
which was the saddest circumstance of all, in the 
midst of these agonies with which he closed the most 
innocent, perfect, and useful life that ever was spent 
upon earth, he had not those supports of the divine 
presence which sinful men have often experienced, 
when they have been suffering for the testimony of 
their conscience. They have often burst out into 
transports of joy and songs of praise while their ex- 
ecutioners have been glutting their hellish malice, 
and more than savage barbarity, by making their 
torments artificially grievous ; but the crucified Jesus 
cried out, in the distress of his spotless and holy soul, 
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" 
Matt, xxvii. 46. 

7. Look upon our dear Redeemer ! Look up to 
this mournful, dreadful, yet, in one view, delightful 
spectacle, and then ask thine own heart, Do I be- 


iieve that Jesus suffered and died thus? and why did 
he suffer and die? Let me answer in God's own 
words, " He was wounded for our transgressions, he 
was bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement 
of our peace was upon him, that by his stripes we 
might be healed: it pleased the Lord to bruise him, 
and to put him to grief, when he made his soul an 
offering for sin;" for the Lord " laid on him the ini- 
quity of us all," Isa. liii. 5, 6, 10. So that I may 
address you in the words of the Apostle, " Be it 
known unto you therefore, that through this man is 
preached unto you the forgiveness of sin," Acts xiii. 
38, as it was his command, just after he arose from 
the dead, that "repentance and remission of sins 
should be preached in his name unto all nations, be- 
ginning at Jerusalem," Luke xxiv. 47, the very place 
where his blood had so lately been shed in so cruel a 
manner. I do therefore testify unto you, in the words 
of another inspired writer, that " Christ was made 
sin," that is, a sin-offering, " for us, though he knew 
no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of 
God in him," 2 Cor. v. 21, that is, that through the 
righteousness he has fulfilled, and the atonement he 
has made, we might be accepted by God as righteous, 
and be not only pardoned, but received into his fa- 
vour. " To you is the word of this salvation sent," 
Acts xiii. 26. and to you, reader, are the blessings 
of it even now offered by God; sincerely offered; so 
that, after all I have said under the former heads, it 
is not your having broken the law of God that shall 
prove your ruin, if you do not also reject his gospel. 
It is not all those legions of sins which rise up in bat- 
tle array against you that shall be able to destroy you, 
if unbelief do not lead them on, and final impeni- 
tence do not bring up the rear. I know that guilt is 
a timorous thing: I will therefore speak in the words 
of God himself ; nor can any be more comfortable: 
" He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, 
John iii. 36 ; and he shall never come into condemna- 
tion, John v. 24: there is therefore now no condem- 
nation," no kind or degree of it, to them, to any one 



of them, " who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not 
after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Rom. viii. 1. You 
have indeed been a very great sinner, and your of- 
fences have truly been attended with most heinous 
aggravations; nevertheless, you may rejoice in the 
assurance, that "where sin hath abounded, there 
shall grace much more abound," Rom. v. 20; that 
" where sin hath reigned unto death," where it has 
had its most unlimited sway, and most unresisted tri- 
umph, there shall "righteousness reign to eternal life 
through Jesus Christ our Lord," Rom. v. 21. That 
righteousness to which, on believing on him, thou 
wilt be entitled, shall not only break those chains by 
which sin is (as it were,) dragging thee at its chariot 
wheels with a furious pace to eternal ruin, but it shall 
clothe thee with the robes of salvation, shall fix thee 
on a throne of glory, where thou shalt live and reign 
for ever among the princes of heaven ; shalt reign in 
immortal beauty and joy, without one remaining scar 
of divine displeasure upon thee, without any single 
mark by which it could be known that thou hadst ever 
been obnoxious to wrath and a curse; except it be 
an anthem of praise, to " the Lamb that was slain, 
and has washed thee from thy sins in his own blood," 
Rev. i. 5. 

8. Nor is it necessary, in order to thy being re- 
leased from guilt, and entitled to this high and com- 
plete felicity, that thou shouldst, before thou wilt ven- 
ture to apply to Jesus, bring any good works of thine 
own to recommend thee to his acceptance. It is in- 
deed true, that if thy faith be sincere, it will certainly 
produce them: but I have the authority of the word 
of God to tell thee, that if thou this day sincerely be- 
lievest in the name of the Son of God, thou shalt this 
day be taken under his care, and be numbered among 
those of his sheep, to whom he has graciously de- 
clared that " he will give eternal life;" and, that they 
shall "never perish," John x. 28. Thou hast no 
need therefore to say, " Who shall go up into hea- 
ven? or, who shall descend into the deep" for me? 
" For the word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in 


thine heart," Rom. x. 6, 7, 8. With this joyful mes- 
sage " I leave thee; with this faithful saying," in- 
deed worthy of all acceptation, 1 Tim. i. 15; with 
this gospel, sinner, which is my life, and which, if 
thou dost not reject it, will be thine too. 


Oh my soul, how astonishing is the message which 
thou hast this day received! I have indeed often 
heard it before, and it is grown so common to me 
that the surprise is not sensible: but reflect, my 
soul, what it is thou hast heard; and say, whether 
the name of the Saviour, whose message it is, may 
not well be called " Wonderful, Counsellor," Isa. ix. 
6, when he displays before thee such wonders of love, 
and proposes to thee such counsels of peace. 

Blessed Jesus, is it indeed thus? Is it not the 
fiction of the human mind ? Surely it is not ! What 
human mind could have invented or conceived it? 
It is a plain certain fact, that thou didst leave the 
magnificence and joy of the heavenly world in com- 
passion to such a wretch as I ! Oh, hadst thou 
from that height of dignity and felicity only looked 
down upon me for a moment, and sent some gracious 
word to me for my direction and comfort, even by 
the least of thy servants, justly then might I have 
prostrated myself in grateful admiration, and have 
kissed the very footsteps of him that published the 
salvation, Isa. lii. 7. But didst thou condescend to be 
thyself the messenger ? What grace had that been, 
though thou hadst but once in person made the 
declaration, and immediately returned back to the 
throne, from whence divine compassion brought thee 
down? But this is not all the triumph of thine illus- 
trious grace; it not only brought thee down to earth, 
but kept thee here in a frail and wretched tabernacle 
for long successive years, and at length it cost thee 
thy life, and stretched thee out as a«malefactor upon 
the cross, after thou hadst borne insult and cruelty, 


which it may justly wound my heart so much as to 
think of; and thus thou hast atoned injured justice, 
and " redeemed me to God with thine own blood/' 
Rev. v. 9. 

What shall I say? "Lord, I believe, help thou 
mine unbelief," Mark ix. 24. It seems to put faith 
to the stretch, to admit what it indeed exceeds the 
utmost stretch of imagination to conceive. Blessed, 
for ever blessed be thy name, thou Father of 
mercies, that thou hast contrived the way. Eternal 
thanks to the Lamb that was slain, and to that kind 
Providence that sent the word of this salvation to 
me. let me not for ten thousand worlds, "re- 
ceive this grace of God in vain!" 2 Cor. vi. 1. 
impress this gospel upon my soul, till its saving vir- 
tue be diffused over every faculty ! Let it not only 
be heard, and acknowledged, and professed, but felt ! 
Make it thy power to my eternal salvation, Rom. i. 
16, and raise me to that humble tender gratitude, to 
that active unwearied zeal in thy service, which be- 
comes one " to whom so much is forgiven," Luke 
vii. 47, and forgiven upon such terms as these. 

I feel a sudden glow in mine heart while these 
tidings are sounding in mine ears; but, oh, let it not 
be a slight superficial transport! let not this 
which I would fain call my Christian joy be as that 
foolish laughter with which I have been so madly 
enchanted, " like the crackling blaze of thorns under 
a pot," Eccles. vii. 6. teach me to secure this 
mighty blessing, this glorious hope, in the method 
which thou hast appointed, and preserve me from 
mistaking the joy of nature, while it catches a 
glimpse of its rescue from destruction, for that con- 
sent of grace which embraces and insures the deliv- 




An inquiry into the way of salvation by Christ being supposed, 1. 
The sinner is in general directed to repentance and faith, 2 ; and 
urged to give up all self-dependence, 3 ; and to seek salvation by 
free grace, 4. A summary of more particular directions is pro- 
posed, 5. (1.) That the sinner should apply to Christ, 6 ; with 
deep abhorrence of his former sins, 7 ; and a firm resolution of 
forsaking them, 8. (2.) That he solemnly commit his soul into 
the hands of Christ, the great vital act of faith, 9; which is exem- 
plified at large, 10. (3.) That he make it in fact the governing 
care of his future life to obey and imitate Christ, 11. This is the 
only method of obtaining gospel salvation, 12. The sinner delib- 
erating on the expediency of accepting it. 

1. I now consider you, my dear reader, as coming to 
me with the inquiry which the Jews once addressed 
to our Lord, " What shall we do that we may work 
the works of God?" John vi. 28-, what method shall I 
take to secure that redemption and salvation which I 
am told Christ has procured for his people ? I would 
answer it as seriously and carefully as possible, as 
one that knows of what importance it is to you to be 
rightly informed; and that knows also how strictly 
he is to answer to God for the sincerity and care with 
which the reply is made. May I be enabled to 
" speak as his oracle," 1 Pet. iv. 11 ; that is, in such 
a manner as faithfully to echo back what the sacred 
oracles teach. 

2. And here, that I may be sure to follow the safest 
guides, and the fairest examples, I must preach sal- 
vation to you, in the way of " repentance toward 
God, and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ," Acts 
xx. 21; that good old doctrine which the apostles 
preached, and which no man can pretend to change, 
but at the peril of his own soul and of theirs who 
attend to him. 

3. I suppose that you are by this time convinced 
of your guilt and condemnation, and of your own 



inability to recover yourself. Let me, nevertheless, 
urge you to feel that conviction yet more deeply, 
and to impress it with yet greater weight upon your 
soul; that you have "undone yourself," and that "in 
yourself is not your help found," Hosea xiii. 9. Be 
persuaded, therefore, expressly and solemnly, and 
sincerely, to give up all self-dependence, which, if 
you do not guard against it, will be ready to return 
secretly, before it is observed, and will lead you to 
attempt building up what you have just been destroy- 

4. Be assured, that if ever you are saved, you 
must ascribe that salvation entirely to the free grace 
of God. If, guilty and miserable as you are, you 
are not only accepted, but crowned, you must " lay 
down your crown," with all humble acknowledg- 
ment, before the throne, Rev. iv. 10. " No flesh 
must glory in his presence ; but he that glorieth must 
glory in the Lord; for of him are we in Christ Jesus, 
who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteous- 
ness, and sanctification, and redemption," 1 Cor. i. 
29 — 31 ; and you must be sensible you are in such a 
state, as having none of these in yourself, to need 
them in another. You must therefore be sensible 
that you are ignorant and guilty, polluted, and en- 
slaved; or, as our Lord expresses it, (with regard to 
some that were under a Christian profession,) that, 
as a sinner, " you are wretched, and miserable, and 
poor, and blind, and naked," Rev. hi. 17. 

5. If these views be deeply impressed upon your 
mind, you will be prepared to receive what I am 
now to say. Hear, therefore, in a few words, your 
duty, your remedy, and your safety, which consists 
in this: "that you must apply to Christ with a. deep 
abhorrence of your former sins, and a firm resolution 
of forsaking them; forming that resolution in the 
strength of his grace, and fixing your dependence on 
him for your acceptance with God, even while you 
are purposing to do your very best; and when you 
have actually done the best you ever will do in con- 
sequence of that purpose." 


6. The first and most important advice that I can 
give you in the present circumstances is, that " you 
look to Christ, and apply yourself to him." And 
here, " say not in your heart, who shall ascend into 
heaven, to bring him down to me?" Rom. x. 6; or, 
who shall raise me up thither to present me before 
him? The blessed Jesus, " by whom all things con- 
sist," Col. i. 17, by whom the whole system of them 
is supported, forgotten as he is by most that bear his 
name, " is not far from any of us," Acts xvii. 27; nor 
could he have promised to have been, " wherever 
two or three are met together in his name," Matt, 
xviii. 20, but in consequence of those truly divine 
perfections by which he is every where present. 
Would you therefore, sinner, desire to be saved? 
go to the Saviour: would you desire to be delivered? 
look to that great Deliverer; and though you should 
be so overwhelmed with guilt, and shame, and fear, 
and horror, that you should be incapable of speak- 
ing to him, fall down in this speechless confusion at 
his feet, and " behold him, as the Lamb of God, that 
taketh away the sin of the world," John i. 29. 

7. Behold him, therefore, with an attentive eye, 
and say whether the sight does not touch, and even 
melt, thy very heart? Dost thou not feel what a 
foolish and what a wretched creature thou hast been, 
that for the sake of such low and sordid gratifications 
and interests as those which thou hast been pursuing, 
thou shouldst thus " kill the Prince of life?" Acts iii. 
1 5. Behold the deep wounds which he bore for thee. 
Look on him whom thou hast pierced, and surely 
thou must mourn, Zech. xii. 10, unless thine heart 
be hardened into stone. Which of thy past sins canst 
thou reflect upon, and say, " For this it was worth 
my while thus to have injured my Saviour, and to 
have exposed the Son of God to such sufferings!" 
And what future temptations can arise so consider- 
able, that thou shouldst say, " For the sake of this I 
will crucify my Lord again?" Heb. vi. 6. Sinner, 
thou must repent; thou must repent of every sin, 
and must forsake it; but if thou dost it to any pur- 


pose, I well know it must be at the foot of the cross. 
Thou must sacrifice every lust, even the dearest, 
though it should be like a right hand, or a right eye, 
Matt. v. 29, 30: and therefore, that thou mayest, if 
possible, be animated to it, I have led thee to that 
altar, on which " Christ himself was sacrificed for 
thee, an offering of a sweet-smelling savour," Eph. 
v. 2. Thou must " yield up thyself to God, as one 
alive from the dead," Rom. vi. 13, and therefore I 
have showed thee at what price he purchased thee: 
" For thou wast not redeemed with corruptible things, 
as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the 
Son of God, that Lamb without blemish and without 
spot," 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. And now I would ask thee, 
as before the Lord, what does thine own heart say 
to it? Art thou grieved for thy former offences? art 
thou willing to forsake thy sins? art thou willing to 
become the cheerful, thankful servant of him " who 
hath purchased thee with his own blood?" 

8. I will suppose such a purpose as this rising in 
thine heart: how determinate it is, and how effectual 
it may be, I know not ; what different views may 
arise hereafter, or how soon the present sense may 
wear off: but this I assuredly know, that thou wilt 
never see reason to change these views; for however 
thou mayest alter, the Lord " Jesus Christ is the same 
yesterday, to-day, and for ever," Heb. xiii. 8; and 
the reasons that now recommend repentance and 
faith, as fit and as necessary, will continue invariable 
as long as the perfections of the blessed God are the 
same, and as long as his Son continues the same. 

9. But while you have these views and these pur- 
poses, I must remind you, that this is not all that is 
necessary to your salvation. You must not only 
purpose, but, as God gives opportunity, you must act 
as those who are convinced of the evil of sin, and of 
the necessity and excellence of holiness: and that 
you may be enabled to do so in other instances, you 
must, in the first place, and as the first great work 
of God, (as our Lord himself calls it,) " believe in 
him whom God hath sent," John vi. 29. You must 


confide in him; must commit your soul into the 
hands of Christ, to be saved by him in his own ap- 
pointed method of salvation. This is the great act 
of saving faith; and I pray God that you may expe- 
rimentally know what it means, so as to be able to 
say with the apostle Paul, in the near view of death 
itself, " I know whom I have believed, and am per- 
suaded that he is able to keep that which I have 
committed to him until that day," 2 Tim. i. 12, that 
great decisive day, which, if we are Christians, we 
have always in view. To this I would urge you; 
and that I could be so happy as to engage you to 
it while I am illustrating it in this and the following 
addresses! Be assured you must not apply your- 
self immediately to God, as absolutely or in him- 
self considered, in the neglect of a Mediator. It will 
neither be acceptable to him, nor safe for you, to rush 
into his presence without any regard to his own Son, 
whom he has appointed to introduce sinners to him ; 
and if you come otherwise, you come as one who is 
not a sinner : the very manner of presenting the ad- 
dress will be interpreted as a denial of that guilt with 
which he knows you are chargeable : and therefore 
he will not admit you, nor so much as look upon 
you. And accordingly, our Lord, knowing how 
much every man living was concerned in this, says 
in the most universal terms, " No man cometh unto 
the Father but by me," John xiv. 6. 

10. Apply therefore to this glorious Redeemer, 
amiable, as he will appear to every believing eye, 
in the blood which he shed upon the cross, and in 
the wounds which he received there. Go to him, 
sinner, this day, this moment, with all thy sins about 
thee. Go just as thou art; for if thou wilt never ap- 
ply to him till thou art first righteous and holy, thou 
wilt never be righteous and holy at all; nor canst be 
so, on this supposition, unless there were some way 
of being so without him, and then there would be no 
occasion for applying to him for righteousness and 
holiness. It were indeed as if it should be said, that 
a sick man should defer his application to a physician 


till his health be recovered. Let me, therefore, re- 
peat it without offence, go to him just as thou art, 
and say, (0 that thou mayest this moment be ena- 
bled to say it from thy very soul!) Blessed Jesus, 
I am surely one of the most sinful, and one of the 
most miserable creatures that ever fell prostrate be- 
fore thee ; nevertheless, I come because I have heard 
that thou didst once say, " Come unto me, all ye that 
labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest," Matt. xi. 28. I come because I have heard 
that thou didst graciously say, " Him that cometh 
unto me, I will in no wise cast out," John vi. 37. 
thou Prince of peace, thou King of glory, I am a 
condemned miserable sinner. I have ruined my own 
soul, and am condemned for ever, if thou dost not 
help me and save me. I have broken thy Father's 
law and thine, for thou art "one with him," John x. 
30. I have deserved condemnation and wrath, and 
I am, even at this very moment, under a sentence of 
everlasting destruction: a destruction which will be 
aggravated by all the contempt which I have cast 
upon thee, Oh thou bleeding Lamb of God: for I 
cannot, and will not dissemble it before thee, that I 
have wronged thee, most basely and ungratefully 
wronged thee, under the character of a Saviour, as 
well as of a Lord. But now, I am willing to submit 
to thee ; and I have brought my poor trembling soul, 
to lodge it in thine hands, if thou wilt condescend to 
receive it ; and if thou dost not, it must perish. 
Lord, I lie at thy feet: stretch out " thy golden scep- 
tre, that I may live," Esth. iv. 11. Yea, " if it please 
the king, let the life of my soul be given me at my 
petition," Esth. vii. 3. I have no treasure, where- 
with to purchase it: I have no equivalent to give 
thee for it; but if that compassionate heart of thine 
can find a pleasure in saving one of the most dis- 
tressed creatures under heaven, that pleasure thou 
mayest here find. Lord, I have foolishly attempted 
to be mine own Saviour; but it will not do. I am 
sensible the attempt, is vain ; and therefore I give it 
over, and look unto thee. On thee, blessed Jesus, 


who art sure and steadfast, do I desire to fix my 
anchor. On thee, as the only sure foundation, would 
I build my eternal hopes. To thy teaching, thou 
unerring Prophet of the Lord, would I submit: be 
thy doctrines ever so mysterious, it is enough for me, 
that thou thyself hast said it. To thine atonement, 
obedience, and intercession, thou holy and ever- 
acceptable High-priest, would I trust. And to thy 
government, thou exalted Sovereign, would I 
yield a willing, delightful subjection. In token of 
reverence and love, I "kiss the Son," Psal. ii. 12; I 
kiss the ground before his feet. I admit thee, 
my Saviour, and welcome thee with unutterable joy, 
to the throne in my heart. Ascend it, and reign 
there for ever ! Subdue mine enemies, Lord, for 
they are thine ; and make me thy faithful and zeal- 
ous servant; faithful to death, and zealous to eter- 
nity ! 

11. Such as this must be the language of your 
very heart before the Lord. But then remember, 
that in consequence thereof, it must be the language 
of your life too. The unmeaning words of the lips 
would be a vain mockery. The most affectionate 
transport of the passions, should it be transient and 
ineffectual, would be but like a blaze of straw, pre- 
sented instead of incense at his altar. With such 
humility, with such love, with such cordial self-dedi- 
cation and submission of soul, must thou often pros- 
trate thyself, in the presence of Christ; and then thou 
must go away, and keep him in thy view; must go 
away, and live unto God through him, " denying 
ungodliness and worldly lusts, and behaving thyself 
soberly, righteously, and godly, in this vain ensnaring 
world," Tit. ii. 12. You must make it your care, to 
show your love by obedience; by forming yourself 
as much as possible, according to the temper and 
manner of Jesus, in whom you believe. You must 
make it the great point of your ambition, (and a no- 
bler view you cannot entertain,) to be a living image 
of Christ; that, so far as circumstances will allow, 
even those who have heard and read but little of 


him, may by observing you, in some measure see 
and know what kind of a life that of the blessed 
Jesus was. And this must be your constant care, 
your prevailing character as long as you live. You 
must follow him whithersoever he leads you; must 
follow, with a cross on your shoulder when he com- 
mands you to take it up, Matt. xvi. 24; and so must 
" be faithful even to the death ; expecting the crown 
of life." Rev. ii. 10. 

12. This, so far as I have been able to learn from 
the word of God, is the way to safety and glory; the 
surest, the only way you can take. It is the way, 
which every faithful minister of Christ has trod, and 
is treading; and the way to which, as he tenders the 
salvation of his own soul, he must direct others. We 
cannot, we would not alter it, in favour of ourselves, 
or of our dearest friends. It is the way, in which 
alone, so far as we can judge, it becomes the blessed 
God to save his apostate creatures. And therefore, 
reader, I beseech and entreat you seriously to consi- 
der it; and let your own conscience answer, as in the 
presence of God, whether you are willing to acquiesce 
in it, or not. But know, that to reject it is thine eter- 
nal death: For as "there is no other name under 
heaven given among men, whereby we can be 
saved," Acts iv. 12, but this of Jesus of Nazareth, 
so there is no other method but this, in which Jesus 
himself will save us. 


Consider, my soul, what answer wilt thou re- 
turn to such proposals as these ! Surely, if I were 
to speak the first dictate of this corrupt and degene- 
rate heart, it would be " this is a hard saying, and 
who can hear it?" John vi. 60. To be thus humbled, 
thus mortified, thus subjected! To take such a yoke 
upon me, and to carry it as long as I live ! To give 
up every darling lust, though dear to me as a right 


eye, and seemingly necessary as a right hand! To 
submit, not only my life, but my heart, to the com- 
mand and discipline of another ! To have a master 
there, and such a master as will control many of its 
favourite affections, and direct them quite into another 
channel ! A master, who himself represents his com- 
mands, by taking up the cross, and following him! 
To adhere to the strictest rules of godliness and so- 
briety, of righteousness and truth; not departing from 
them in any allowed instance, great or small, upon 
any temptation, for any advantage, to escape any in- 
convenience and evil, no, not even for the preserva- 
tion of life itself; but upon a proper call of Provi- 
dence, to act as if I " hated even my own life !" Luke 
xvi. 26. Lord, it is hard to flesh and blood; and yet 
I perceive and feel, there is one demand yet harder 
than this. 

With all these precautions, with all these mortifi- 
cations, the pride of my nature would find some in- 
ward resource of pleasure, might I but secretly think, 
that I had been my own saviour; that my own wis- 
dom, and my own resolution, had broken the bands 
and chains of the enemy; and that I had drawn out 
of my own treasures, the price with which my re- 
demption was purchased. But must I lie down be- 
fore another, as guilty and condemned, as weak and 
helpless? And must the obligation be multiplied, 
and must a mediator have his share too ? Must I go 
to the cross for my salvation, and seek my glory from 
the infamy of that? Must I be stripped of every 
pleasing pretence to righteousness, and stand in this 
respect upon a level with the vilest of men ? stand 
at the bar among the greatest criminals, pleading 
guilty with them, and seeking deliverance by that 
very act of grace, whereby they have obtained it? 

I dare not deliberately say, This method is unrea- 
sonable. My conscience testifies, that I have sinned, 
and cannot be justified before God, as an innocent, 
and obedient creature. My conscience tells me, that 
all these humbling circumstances are fit: that it is fit, 
a convicted criminal should be brought upon his 



knees : that a captive rebel should give up the wea- 
pons of his rebellion, and bow before his sovereign 
if he expects his life. Yea, my reason, as well as my 
conscience, tells me, that it is fit and necessary, that 
if I am saved at all, I should be saved from the power 
and love of sin, as well as from the condemnation of 
it; and that if sovereign Mercy gives me a new life, 
after having deserved eternal death, it is most fit I 
should " yield myself to God, as alive from the dead," 
Rom. vi. 1 3. But, " wretched man that I am, I 
feel a law in my members, that wars against the law 
of my mind," Rom. vii. 23, 24, and opposes the con- 
viction of my reason and conscience. Who shall de- 
liver me from this bondage? Who shall make me 
willing to do that, which I know in my own soul to 
be most expedient ? Lord, subdue my heart, and 
let it not be drawn so strongly one way, while the 
nobler powers of my mind would direct it another. 
Conquer every licentious principle within, that it may 
be my joy to be so wisely governed, and restrained. 
Especially, subdue my pride, that lordly corruption, 
which so ill suits an impoverished and condemned 
creature ; that thy way of salvation may be amiable 
to me, in proportion to the degree in which it is hum- 
bling. I feel a disposition to " linger in Sodom, but 
be merciful to me, and pull me out of it," Gen. 
xix. 16, before the storms of thy flaming vengeance 
fall, and there be no more escaping ! 




Since many who have been impressed with these things, suffer the 
impression to wear off in vain, 1. strongly as the case speaks for 
itself, sinners are to be entreated to accept this salvation, 2. Ac- 
cordingly, the reader is entreated, (I.) by the majesty and mercy 
of God, 3. (2.) By the dying love of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4. (3.) 
By the regard due to our fellow-creatures, 5. (4.) By the worth 
of his own immortal soul, 6. The matter is solemnly left with 
the reader, as before God, 7. The sinner yielding to these en- 
treaties, and declaring his acceptance of salvation by Christ. 

1. Thus far have I often known convictions and im- 
pressions to arise, (if I might judge by the strongest 
appearances,) which after all have worn off again. 
Some unhappy circumstance of external temptation, 
ever joined by the inward reluctance of an unsancti- 
fied heart to this holy and humbling scheme of re- 
demption, has been the ruin of multitudes. And 
"through the deceitfulness of sin, they have been 
hardened," Heb. hi. 13, till they seem to have been 
" utterly destroyed, and that without remedy," Prov. 
xxix. 1. And therefore, thou immortal creature, 
who art now reading these lines, I beseech thee, that 
while affairs are in this critical situation, while there 
are these balancings of mind between accepting and 
rejecting that glorious gospel, which, in the integrity 
of my heart, I have now been laying before you, you 
would once more give me an attentive audience, 
while I plead in God's behalf, (shall I say?) or rather 
in your own; while "as an ambassador for Christ, 
and as though God did beseech you by me, I pray 
you in Christ's stead, that you would be reconciled 
to God," 2 Cor. v. 20; and would not, after these 
awakenings and these inquiries, by a madness which 
it will surely be the doleful business of a miserable 
eternity to lament, reject this compassionate counsel 
of God towards you. 


2. One would indeed imagine, there should be no 
need of importunity here. One would conclude, that 
as soon as perishing sinners are told, that an offended 
God is ready to be reconciled; that he offers them a 
full pardon for all their aggravated sins, yea, that he 
is willing to adopt them into his family now, that he 
may at length admit them to his heavenly presence; 
all should with the utmost readiness and pleasure 
embrace so kind a message, and fall at his feet in 
speechless transports of astonishment, gratitude, and 
joy. But alas, we find it much otherwise. We see 
multitudes quite unmoved, and the impressions which 
are made on many more are feeble and transient. 
Lest it should be thus with you, Oh reader, let me 
urge the message with which I have the honour to 
be charged: let me entreat you to be reconciled to 
God, and to accept of pardon and salvation in the 
way in which it is so freely offered to you. 

3. I entreat you, " by the majesty of that God, in 
"whose name I come;" whose voice fills all heaven 
with reverence and obedience. He speaks not in 
vain to legions of angels : but if there could be any 
contention among those blessed spirits, it would be, 
who should be first to execute his commands. 
let him not speak in vain to a wretched mortal ! I 
entreat you " by the terrors of his wrath," who could 
speak to you in thunder; who could, by one single 
act of his will, cut off this precarious life of yours, 
and send you down to hell. I beseech you " by his 
mercies, by his tender mercies;" by the bowels of his 
compassion, which still yearn over you, as those of 
a parent over a dear son, over a tender child, whom, 
notwithstanding his former ungrateful rebellions, " he 
earnestly remembers still," Jer. xxxi. 20. I beseech 
and entreat you, " by all this paternal goodness," that 
you do not (as it were) compel him to Jose the cha- 
racter of the gentle parent, in that of the righteous 
Judge; so that, (as he threatens with regard to those 
whom he had just called his sons and his daughters) 
" a fire should be kindled in his anger, which should 
burn unto the lowest hell," Deut. xxxii. 19, 22. 


4. I beseech you further, " by the name and love 
of our dying Saviour." I beseech you, by all the 
condescension of his incarnation; by that poverty, to 
which he voluntarily submitted that you might be 
enriched with eternal treasures ; 2 Cor. viii. 9, by all 
the gracious invitations which he gave, which still 
sound in his word, and still coming (as it were) warm 
from his heart, are u sweeter than honey, or the ho- 
ney-comb," Psal. xix. 10. I beseech you, by all 
his glorious works of power and of wonder, which 
were also works of love. I beseech you, by the 
memory of the most benevolent person, and the most 
generous friend. I beseech you, by the memory of 
what he suffered, as well as of what he said and did ; 
by the agony which he endured in the garden, when 
his body was covered with a dew of blood, Luke 
xxii. 44. I beseech you, by all that tender distress 
which he felt, when his dearest friends " forsook him 
and fled," Matt. xxvi. 56, and his blood-thirsty ene- 
mies dragged him away, like the meanest of slaves, 
and like the vilest of criminals. I beseech you, by 
the blows and bruises, by the stripes and lashes, 
which this injured sovereign endured while in their 
rebellious hands; by the shame of spitting, from 
which he hid not that kind and venerable counte- 
nance, Isa. 1. 6. I beseech you, by the purple robe, 
the sceptre of reed, and the crown of thorns, which 
this King of glory wore, that he might set us among 
the princes of heaven, Psal. cxiii. 8. I beseech you, 
by the heavy burden of the cross, under which he 
panted, and toiled, and fainted, in the painful way 
to Golgotha, John xix. 17, that he might free us 
from the burden of our sins. I beseech you, by the 
remembrance of those rude nails, that tore the veins 
and arteries, the nerves and tendons of his sacred 
hands and feet; and by that invincible, that trium- 
phant goodness, which, while the iron pierced his 
flesh, engaged him to cry out, " Father, forgive them, 
for they know not what they do," Luke xxiii. 34. 
I beseech you, by the unutterable anguish which he 
bore, when lifted up upon the cross, and extended 


there as on a rack, for six painful hours, that you 
open your heart to those attractive influences, which 
have drawn to him thousands and ten thousands, 
John xii. 32. I beseech you, by all that insult and 
derision, which the " Lord of glory bore there ;" Matt, 
xxvii. 29, 44, by that parching thirst which could 
hardly obtain the relief of vinegar, John xix. 28, 
29, by that doleful cry, so astonishing in the mouth 
of the only begotten of the Father, " My God, my 
God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matt, xxvii. 46. 
I beseech you, by that grace that subdued and par- 
doned a dying malefactor, Luke xxiii. 42, 43, by 
that compassion for sinners, by that compassion for 
you, which wrought in his heart, long as its vital mo- 
tion continued, and which ended not when he bowed 
his head, saying, "It is finished, and gave up the 
ghost," John xix. 30. I beseech you, by the triumphs 
of that resurrection by which he was declared to 
be the son of God with power, by the Spirit of holi- 
ness which wrought to accomplish it ; Rom. i. 4, by 
that gracious tenderness which attempered all those 
triumphs, when he said to her out of whom he had 
cast seven devils, concerning his disciples who had 
treated him so basely, "Go, tell my brethren, I ascend 
unto my Father and your Father, unto my God and 
your God," John xx. 17. I beseech you, by that 
condescension, with which he said to Thomas, when 
his unbelief had made such an unreasonable demand, 
" Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands, and 
reach hither thine hand, and thrust it into my side; 
and be not faithless but believing," John xx. 27. I 
beseech you, by that generous and faithful care of his 
people, which he carried up with him to the regions 
of glory, and which engaged him to send down his 
Spirit, in that rich profusion of miraculous gifts to 
spread the progress of his saving word, Acts ii. 33. 
I beseech you, by that voice of sympathy and power, 
with which he said to Saul, while injuring his church, 
" Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Acts ix. 4, by 
that generous goodness, which spared that prostrate 
enemy, when he lay trembling at his feet, and raised 


him to so high a dignity, as to be " not inferior to the 
very chiefest apostles," 2 Cor. xii. 11. I beseech yon, 
by the memory of all that Christ has already done, 
by the expectation of all he will further do for his 
people. I beseech you, at once, by the sceptre of his 
grace, and by that sword of his justice, with which 
his incorrigible enemies shall be slain before him, 
Luke xix. 27, that you do not trifle away these pre- 
cious moments, while his Spirit is thus breathing 
upon you; that you do not lose an opportunity which 
may never return, and on the improvement of which 
your eternity depends. 

5. I beseech you, " by all the bowels of compassion 
which you owe to the faithful ministers of Christ," 
who are studying and labouring, preaching and pray- 
ing, wearing out their time, exhausting their strength, 
and, very probably, shortening their lives, for the sal- 
vation of your soul, and of souls like yours. I be- 
seech you, by the affection, with which all that love 
our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, long to see you 
brought back to him. I beseech you, by the friend- 
ship of the living, and by the memory of the dead ; 
by the ruin of those who have trifled away their 
days, and perished in their sins, and by the happi- 
ness of those who have embraced the gospel, and 
are saved by it. I beseech you, by the great expec- 
tation of that important day, " when the Lord Jesus 
shall be revealed from heaven," 2 Thess. i. 7, by 
the terrors of a dissolving world, 2 Pet. iii. 10, by 
" the sound of the archangel's trumpet," 1 Thess. iv, 
16, and of that infinitely more awful sentence, "Come, 
ye blessed, and, Depart ye cursed," Matt. xxv. 34, 
41, with which that grand solemnity shall close. 

6. I beseech you finally, " by your own precious 
and immortal soul," by the sure prospect of a dying 
bed, or of a sudden surprise into the invisible state; 
and as you would feel one spark of comfort, in your 
departing spirit when your flesh and your heart are 
failing, I beseech you, by your own personal ap- 
pearance before the tribunal of Christ, (for a personal 
appearance it must be, even to them who now sit on 


thrones of their own;) by all the transports of the 
blessed, and by all the agonies of the damned, the 
one or the other of which must be your everlasting 
portion. I affectionately entreat and beseech you, in 
the strength of all these united considerations, as you 
will answer it to me, who may in that day be sum- 
moned to testify against you; and, which is unspeak- 
ably more, as you will answer it to your own con- 
science, as you will answer it to the eternal Judge; 
that you dismiss not these thoughts, these meditations, 
and these cares, till you have brought matters to a 
happy issue; till you have made a resolute choice of 
Christ, and his appointed way of salvation, and till 
you have solemnly devoted yourself to God in the 
bonds of an everlasting covenant. 

7. And thus I leave the matter before you, and be- 
fore the Lord. I have told you my errand: I have 
discharged my embassy. Stronger arguments I can- 
not use; more endearing and more awful considera- 
tions I cannot suggest. Choose therefore, whether 
you will go out, as it were, clothed in sackcloth, to 
cast yourself at the feet of him who now sends you 
these equitable and gracious terms of peace and par- 
don; or, whether you will hold it out till he appears 
sword in hand, to reckon with you for your treasons 
and your crimes, and for this neglected embassy 
among the rest of them. Fain would I hope the best; 
nor can I believe, that this labour of love shall be so 
entirely unsuccessful, that not one soul shall be 
brought to the foot of Christ, in cordial submission 
and humble faith. " Take with you therefore words, 
and turn unto the Lord," Hos. xiv. 2, and that 
those which might follow, in effect at least, be the 
genuine language of every one that reads them ! 


Blessed Lord, it is enough ! It is too much ! Surely 
there needs not this variety of arguments, this impor- 
tunity of persuasion, to court me to be happy, to pre- 
vail upon me to accept of pardon, of life, of eternal 


glory. Compassionate Saviour, my soul is subdued ; 
so that I trust, the language of thy grief is become 
that of my penitence, and I may say, " My heart is 
melted like wax in the midst of my bowels," Psal. 
xxii. 14. 

gracious Redeemer! I have already neglected 
thee too long. I have too often injured thee; have 
crucified thee afresh by my guilt and impenitence, as 
if I had taken pleasure in " putting thee to an open 
shame," Heb. vi. 6. But my heart now bows itself 
before thee, in humble unfeigned submission. I 
desire to make no terms with thee but these— that I 
may be entirely thine. I cheerfully present thee 
with a blank, entreating thee, that thou wilt do me 
the honour to signify upon it, what is thy pleasure. 
Teach me, Lord, tvhat thou wouldst have me to 
do! For I desire to learn the lesson, and to learn it 
that I may practise it. If it be more than my feeble 
powers can answer, thou wilt, I hope, give me more 
strength; and in that strength I will serve thee. 
receive a soul, which thou hast made willing to be 
thine ! 

No more, blessed Jesus, no more is it necessary 
to beseech and entreat me. Permit me rather to 
address myself to thee with all the importunity of 
a perishing sinner, that at length sees and knows 
" there is salvation in no other," Acts iv. 12. Per- 
mit me now, Lord, to come, and throw myself at thy 
feet, like a helpless outcast, that has no shelter but in 
thy generous compassion; like one pursued by the 
avenger of blood, and seeking earnestly an admit- 
tance into the city of refuge, Josh. xx. 2. 3. 

" I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait ; and in 
thy word do I hope," Psal. cxxx. 5, that thou " wilt 
receive me graciously," Hos. xiv. 2. My soul con- 
fides in thy goodness, and adores it. I adore the 
patience which has borne with me so long; and the 
grace that now makes me heartily willing to be thine; 
to be thine on thine own terms, thine on any terms. 
secure this treacherous heart to thyself ! unite 
me to thee in such inseparable bonds, that none of 


the allurements of flesh and blood, none of the vani- 
ties of an ensnaring world, none of the solicitations of 
sinful companions, may draw me back from thee, and 
plunge me into new guilt and ruin. " Be surety, 
Lord, for thy servant for good," Psal. cxix. 122, that 
I may still keep my hold on thee, and so on eternal 
life ; till at length I know more fully, by joyful and 
everlasting experience, how complete a Saviour thou 
art. Amen. 



Universal success not to be expected, 1. Yet as unwilling abso- 
lutely to give up any, the author addresses, (1.) those who doubt 
of the truth of Christianity, urging an inquiry into its evidence, 
and directing to proper methods for that purpose, 2 — 4. (2.) 
Those who determine to give it up without further examination, 
5 ; and presume to set themselves to oppose it, 6. (3.) Those 
who speculatively assent to Christianity as true, and yet will sit 
down without any practical regard to its most important and 
acknowledged truths. Such are dismissed with a representation 
of the absurdity of their conduct on their own principles, 7, 8 ' r 
with a solemn warning of its fatal consequences, 9, 10; and a 
compassionate prayer, 11; which concludes the chapter, and this 
part of the work. 

1. I would humbly hope, that the preceding chapters 
will be the means of awakening some stupid and 
insensible sinners; the means of convincing them of 
their need of gospel salvation, and of engaging some 
cordially to accept it. Yet I cannot flatter myself so 
far, as to hope this should be the case with regard to 
all into whose hands this book shall come. " What 
am I, alas, better than my fathers," 1 Kings xix. 4, 
or better than my brethren, who have in all ages 
been repeating their complaint, with regard to mul- 
titudes, that they " have stretched out their hands all 
the day long to a disobedient and gainsaying people ?" 


Rom. x. 21. Many such may, perhaps, be found, in 
the number of my readers : many, on whom, neither 
considerations of terror, nor of love, will make any 
deep and lasting impression : many, who, as our Lord 
learned by experience to express it, " when we pipe 
to them, will not dance, and when we mourn unto 
them, will not lament," Matt. xi. 17. I can say no 
more to persuade them, if they make light of what 
I have already said. Here, therefore, we must part ; 
in this chapter I must take my leave of them; and, 
0, that I could do it in such a manner as to fix, at 
parting, some convictions upon their hearts; that, 
though I seem to leave them for a little while, and 
send them back to review again the former chapters, 
as those in which alone they have any present con- 
cern, they might soon, as it were, overtake me again, 
and find a suitableness in the remaining part of this 
discourse, which at present they cannot possibly find. 
Unhappy creatures ! I quit you, as a physician quits 
a patient whom he loves, and is just about to give 
over as incurable; he returns again and again, and 
re-examines the several symptoms, to observe whe- 
ther there be not some one of them more favourable 
than the rest, which may encourage a renewed ap- 

2. So would I once more return to you. You do 
not find in yourself any disposition to embrace the 
gospel, to apply yourself to Christ, to give yourself 
up to the service of God, and to make religion the 
business of your life. But if I cannot prevail upon 
you to do this, let me engage you at least to answer 
me, or rather to answer your own conscience, " Why 
will you not do it?" Is it owing to any secret dis- 
belief of the great principles of religion? If it be, 
the case is different from what I have yet considered, 
and the cure must be different. This is not a place 
to combat with the scruples of infidelity. Neverthe- 
less, I would desire you seriously to inquire how far 
those scruples extend. Do they affect only some 
particular doctrines of the gospel on which my argu- 
ment has turned? or do they affect the whole Chris- 


tian revelation? or do they reach yet further, and 
extend themselves to natural religion as well as re- 
vealed, so that it should be a doubt with you whether 
there be any God, and Providence, and future state, 
or not? As these cases are all different, so it will be 
of great importance to distinguish the one from the 
other, that you may know on what principle to build 
as certain, in the examination of those concerning 
which you are yet in doubt. But whatever these 
doubts are, I would further ask you, how long have 
they continued, and what method have you taken to 
get them resolved? Do you imagine that in matters 
of such moment, it will be an allowable case for you 
to trifle on, neglecting to inquire into the evidence of 
these things, and then plead your not being satisfied 
in that evidence, as an excuse for not acting accord- 
ing to them? Must not the principles of common 
sense assure you that, if these things be true, (as 
when you talk of doubting about them, you acknow- 
ledge it at least possible they may be,) they are of in- 
finitely greater importance than any of the affairs of 
life, whether of business or pleasure, for the sake of 
which you neglect them? Why then do you con- 
tinue indolent and unconcerned, from week to week, 
and from month to month, which, probably, con- 
science tells you is the case? 

3. Do you ask what method you should take to be 
resolved? It is no hard question. Open your eyes; 
set yourself to think: let conscience speak, and verily 
do I believe that, if it be not seared in an uncom- 
mon degree, you will find shrewd forebodings of the 
certainty both of natural and revealed religion, and 
of the absolute necessity of repentance, faith, and 
holiness, to a life of future felicity. If you are a per- 
son of any learning, you cannot but know by what 
writers, and in what treatises, these great truths are 
defended. And, if you are not, you may find, in 
almost every town and neighbourhood, persons capa- 
ble of informing you in the main evidences of Chris- 
tianity, and of answering such scruples against it as 
unlearned minds may have met with. Set yourself, 


then, ill the name of God, immediately to consider 
the matter. If you study at all, bend your studies 
close this way; and trifle not with mathematics, or 
poetry, or history, or law, or physic, (which are all 
comparatively light as a feather,) while you neglect 
this. Study the arguments as for your life; for much 
more than life depends on it. See how far you are 
satisfied, and why that satisfaction reaches no fur- 
ther. Compare evidences on both sides. And above 
all, consider the design and tendency of the New 
Testament, to what it would lead you, and all them 
that cordially obey it ; and then say whether it be not 
good. And consider how naturally its truth is con- 
nected with its goodness. Trace the characters and 
sentiments of its authors, whose living image (if I 
may be allowed the expression) is still preserved in 
their writings; and then ask your own heart, Can 
you think this was a forgery, an impious cruel for- 
gery? For such it must have been if it were a for- 
gery at all, a scheme to mock God, and to ruin men, 
even the best of men, such as reverenced conscience, 
and would abide all extremities for what they appre- 
hend to be truth. Put the question to your own 
heart, Can I in my conscience believe it to be such 
an imposture? Can I look up to an omniscient God, 
and say, " Lord, thou knowest that it is in rever- 
ence to thee, and in love to truth and virtue, that I 
reject this book, and the method to happiness here 
laid down?" 

4. But there are difficulties in the way. And what 
then? Have those difficulties never been cleared? 
Go to the living advocates for Christianity, to those 
of whose abilities, candour, and piety, you have the 
best opinion, if your prejudices will give you leave 
to have a good opinion of any such: tell them your 
difficulties; hear their solutions; weigh them serious- 
ly, as those who know they must answer it to God; 
and, while doubts continue, follow the truth as far as 
it will lead you, and take heed that you do not " im- 
prison it in unrighteousness/*' Rom. i. 18. 

Nothing appears more inconsistent and absurd 


than for a man solemnly to pretend dissatisfaction in 
the evidence of the gospel, as a reason why he can- 
not in conscience be a thorough Christian; when yet 
at the same time he violates the most apparent dic- 
tates of reason and conscience, and lives in vices con- 
demned even by the heathen. Oh, sirs, Christ has 
judged concerning such; and judged most righteous- 
ly and most wisely; "They do evil, and therefore 
they hate the light, neither come they to the light, 
lest their deeds should be made manifest, and be re- 
proved," John hi. 20. But there is a light that will 
make manifest and reprove their works, to which 
they shall be compelled to come, and the painful 
scrutiny of which they shall be forced to abide. 

5. In the mean time, if you are determined to in- 
quire no further into the matter now, give me leave 
at least, from a sincere concern, that you may not 
heap upon your head more aggravated ruin, to 
entreat you that you would be cautious how you 
expose yourself to yet greater danger by what you 
must yourself own to be unnecessary, I mean at- 
tempts to pervert others from believing the truth of 
the gospel. Leave them, for God's sake, and for 
your own, in possession of those pleasures, and those 
hopes, which nothing but Christianity can give them, 
and act not as if you were solicitous to add to the 
guilt of an infidel the tenfold damnation, which they 
who have been the perverters and destroyers of the 
souls of others must expect to meet, if that gospel, 
which they have so adventurously opposed, should 
prove, as it certainly will, a serious, and to them a 
dreadful truth. 

6. If I cannot prevail here, but the pride of dis- 
playing a superiority of understanding should bear 
on such a reader, even in opposition to his own 
favourite maxims of the innocence of error, and the 
equality of all religions consistent with social virtue, 
to do his utmost to trample down the gospel with 
contempt, I would, however, dismiss him with one 
proposal, which I think the importance of the affair 
may fully justify. If you have done with your 


examination into Christianity, and determine to live 
and conduct yourself as if it were assuredly false, sit 
down then and make a memorandum of that deter- 
mination. Write it down: " On such a day of such 
a year, I deliberately resolved that I would live and 
die rejecting Christianity myself, and doing all I could 
to overthrow it. This day I determined not only to 
renounce all subjection to, and expectation from Jesus 
of Nazareth, but also to make it a serious part of the 
business of my life to destroy, as far as I possibly 
can, all regard to him in the minds of others, and to 
exert my most vigorous efforts in the way of reason- 
ing, or of ridicule, to sink the credit of his religion, 
and if it be possible, to root it out of the world; in 
calm steady defiance of that day, when his followers 
say, He shall appear in so much majesty and terror, 
to execute the vengeance threatened to his enemies." 
Dare you write this and sign it ? I firmly believe 
that many a man, who would be thought a deist, and 
endeavours to increase the number, would not: and 
if you in particular dare not to do it, whence does 
that small remainder of caution arise? the cause is 
plain. There is in your conscience some secret 
apprehension that this rejected, this opposed, this 
derided gospel may, after all, prove true; and if 
there be such an apprehension, then let conscience 
do its office, and convict you of the impious madness 
of acting as if it were most certainly and demonstra- 
bly false. Let it tell you at large how possible it 
is that " haply you may be found fighting against 
God," Acts v. 39; that, bold as you are, in defying 
the terrors of the Lord, you may possibly fall into 
his hands, may chance to hear that despised sentence, 
which, when you hear it from the mouth of the eter- 
nal Judge, you will not be able to despise: I will 
repeat it again in spite of all your scorn, you may 
hear the King say to you, " Depart, accursed, into 
everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his an- 
gels," Matt. xxv. 41. And now go and pervert and 
burlesque the Scripture, go and lampoon the charac- 
ter of its heroes, and ridicule the sublime discourses 


of its prophets and its apostles, as some have done 
who have left little behind them but the short-lived 
monuments of their ignorance, their profaneness, and 
their malice : go and spread like them the banners of 
infidelity, and pride thyself in the number of credu- 
lous creatures listed under them. But take heed lest 
the insulted Galilean direct a secret arrow to thine 
heart, and stop thy licentious breath before it has 
finished the next sentence thou wouldst utter against 

7. I will now turn myself from the deist or the 
sceptic, and direct my address to the nominal Chris- 
tian; if he may upon any terms be called a Christian, 
who feels not, after all I have pleaded, a disposition 
to subject himself to the government and the grace 
of that Saviour whose name he bears. sinner, 
thou art turning away from my Lord, in whose 
cause I speak; but let me earnestly entreat thee, 
seriously to consider why thou art turning away, 
"and to whom thou wilt go" from him, whom thou 
acknowledgest " to have the words of eternal life," 
John vi. 68. You call yourself a Christian, and yet 
will not by any means be persuaded to seek salva- 
tion in good earnest from and through Jesus Christ, 
whom you call your Master and your Lord. How 
do you for a moment excuse this negligence to your 
own conscience? If I had urged you on any contro- 
verted point, it might have altered the case. If I had 
laboured hard to make you the disciple of any par- 
ticular party of Christians, your delay might have 
been more reasonable: nay, perhaps, your refusing 
to acquiesce might have been an act of apprehended 
duty to our common Master. But is it matter of 
controversy among Christians, whether there be a 
great, holy, and righteous God ? and whether such a 
being, whom we agree to own, should be reverenced 
and loved, or neglected and dishonoured? Is it mat- 
ter of controversy whether a sinner should deeply 
and seriously repent of his sins, or whether he should 
go on in them? Is it a disputed point amongst us 
whether Jesus became incarnate, and died upon the 


cross for the redemption of sinners or no ? And if it 
be not, can it be disputed by them who believe him 
to be the Son of God, and the Saviour of men, whe- 
ther a sinner should seek to him or neglect him? or 
whether one who professes to be a Christian should 
depart from iniquity, or give himself up to the prac- 
tice of it? Are the precepts of our great Master 
written so obscurely in his word, that there should 
be room seriously to question whether he require a 
devout, holy, humble, spiritual, watchful, self-deny- 
ing life, or whether he allow the contrary? Has 
Christ, after all his pretensions of bringing life and 
immortality to light, left it more uncertain than he 
found it, whether there be any future state of happi- 
ness and misery, or for whom these states are respec- 
tively intended? Is it matter of controversy whether 
God will or will not " bring every work into judg- 
ment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or 
whether it be evil?" Eccl. xii. 14; or whether at the 
conclusion of that judgment, " the wicked shall go 
away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous 
into life eternal?" Matt. xxv. 46. You will not, 1 
am sure, for very shame, pretend any doubt about 
those things, and yet call yourself a Christian. Why 
then will you not be persuaded to lay them to heart, 
and to act as duty and interest so evidently require? 
sinner, the cause is too obvious; a cause, indeed, 
quite unworthy of being called a reason. It is be- 
cause thou art blinded and besotted with thy vanities 
and thy lusts. It is because thou hast some perish- 
ing trifle, which charms thy imagination and thy 
senses, so that it is dearer to thee than God and 
Christ, than thy own soul and its salvation. It is, 
in a word, because thou art still under the influence 
of that carnal mind, which, whatever pious forms 
it may sometimes admit and pretend, " is enmity 
against God, and is not subject to the law of God, 
neither indeed can be," Rom. viii. 7. And therefore 
thou art in the very case of those wretches, concern- 
ing whom our Lord said, in the days of his flesh, 
" Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life," 


John v. 40 ; and therefore " ye shall die in your sins," 
John viii. 24. 

8. In this case I see not what it can signify to re- 
new those expostulations and addresses, which I have 
made in the former chapters. As our blessed Re- 
deemer says of those who rejected his gospel, " Ye 
have both seen and hated both me and my Father;" 
John xv. 24, so may I truly say with regard to you, 
I have endeavoured to show you in the plainest and 
clearest words, both Christ and the Father; I have 
urged the obligations you are under to both; I have 
laid before you your guilt, and your condemnation; 
I have pointed out the only remedy ; I have pointed 
out the Rock on which I have built my own eternal 
hopes, and the way in which alone I expect salva- 
tion ; I have recommended those things to you, which, 
if God gives me an opportunity, I will, with my dying 
breath, earnestly and affectionately recommend to my 
own children, and to all the dearest friends that I have 
upon earth who may then be near me ; esteeming it 
the highest token of my friendship, the surest proof 
of my love to them: and if believing the gospel to 
be true, you resolve to reject it, I have nothing fur- 
ther to say, but that you must abide by the conse- 
quence — Yet as Moses, when he went out from the 
presence of Pharaoh for the last time, finding his 
heart yet more hardened by all the judgments and 
deliverances with which he had formerly been exer- 
cised, denounced upon him God's passing through 
the land in terror to smite the first-born with death, 
and warned him of that great and lamentable cry 
which the sword of the destroying angel should raise 
throughout all his realm; Exod. ix. 4 — 6, so will I, 
sinner, now when I am quitting thee, speak to thee 
yet again, " whether thou wilt hear or whether thou 
wilt forbear," Ezek. ii. 7, and denounce that much 
more terrible judgment, which the sword of divine 
vengeance already whetted and drawn and bathed as 
it were in heaven, Isa. xxxiv. 5, is preparing against 
thee ; which shall end in a much more doleful cry, 
though thou wert greater and more obstinate than 


that haughty monarch. Yes, sinner, that I may, 
with the apostle Paul, when, "turning to others," 
who are more like to hear me, " shake my raiment, 
and say, I am pure from your blood," Acts xviii. 6, 
I will once more tell you what the end of these things 
will be ; and, oh, that I could speak to purpose ! Oh 
that I could thunder in thine ear such a peal of ter- 
rors as might awaken thee, and be too loud to be 
drowned in all the noise of carnal mirth, or to be 
deadened by those dangerous opiates, with which 
thou art contriving so stupefy thy conscience ! 

9. Seek what amusements and entertainments thou 
wilt, sinner, I tell thee, if thou wert equal in dig- 
nity, and power, and magnificence, to the great mo- 
narch of Babylon, " thy pomp shall be brought down 
to the grave, and all the sound of thy viols; the 
worm shall be spread under thee, and the worm shall 
cover thee," Isa. xiv. 11. Yes, sinner, " the end of 
these things is death," Rom. vi. 21, death in its most 
terrible sense to thee, if this continue thy governing 
temper. Thou canst not avoid it; and if it be possi- 
ble for any thing that I can say to prevent, thou shalt 
not forget it. Your " strength is not the strength of 
stones, nor is your flesh of brass," Job vi. 12. You 
are accessible to diseases as well as others; and if 
some sudden accident, do not prevent it, we shall soon 
see how heroically you will behave yourself on a 
dying bed, and in the near views of eternity. You 
that now despise Christ, and trifle with his gospel, 
we shall see you droop and languish; shall see all 
your relish for your carnal recreations, and your vain 
companions, lost. And if perhaps one and another 
of them bolt in upon you, and is brutish and despe- 
rate enough to attempt to entertain a dying man with 
a gay story, or a profane jest, we shall see how you 
will relish it. We shall see what comfort you will 
have in reflecting on what is past, or what hope in 
looking forward to what is to come. Perhaps, trem- 
bling and astonished, you will then be inquiring, in a 
wild kind of consternation, " what you shall do to 
be saved;" calling for the ministers of Christ, whom 


you now despise for the earnestness with which they 
would labour to save your soul; and, it may be, fall- 
ing into a delirium, or dying convulsions, before they 
can come. Or perhaps we may see you nattering 
yourself, through a long lingering illness, that you 
shall still recover, and putting off any serious reflec- 
tion and conversation, for fear it should overset your 
spirits ; and the cruel kindness of friends and physi- 
cians, as if they were in league with Satan to make 
the destruction of your soul as sure as possible, may 
perhaps abet this fatal deceit. 

10. And if any of these probable cases happen, 
that is, in short, unless a miracle of grace snatch you 
" as a brand out of the burning," when the flames 
have as it were already taken hold of you, all these 
gloomy circumstances, which pass in the chambers of 
illness, and the bed of death, are but the forerunners 
of infinitely more dreadful things, Oh, who can de- 
scribe them ! who can imagine them! when surviving 
friends are tenderly mourning over the breathless 
corpse, and taking a fond farewell of it before it. is 
laid to consume away in the dark and silent grave, 
into what hands, sinner, will thy soul be fallen ! 
what scenes will open upon thy separate spirit, even 
before thy deserted flesh, be cold, or thy sightless eyes 
are closed ! it shall then know what it is to return to 
God to be rejected by him, as having rejected his 
gospel and his Son, and despised the only treaty of 
reconciliation ; and that such a one so amazingly con- 
descending and gracious. Thou shalt know what it 
is to be disowned by Christ, whom thou hast refused 
to entertain; and what it is, as the certain and imme- 
diate consequence of that, to be left in the hands of 
the malignant spirits of hell. There will be no more 
friendship then; none to comfort, none to alleviate 
thy agony and distress; but on the contrary, all around 
thee labouring to aggravate and increase them. Thou 
shalt pass away the intermediate years of the sepa- 
rate state in dreadful expectation, and bitter outcries 
of horror and remorse ; and then thou shalt hear the 
trumpet of the archangel, in whatever cavern of that 


gloomy world thou art lodged. Its sound shall pene- 
trate thy prison, where, doleful and horrible as it is, 
thou shalt nevertheless wish that thou mightest still 
be allowed to hide thy guilty head, rather than show 
it before the face of that awful Judge, before whom 
"heaven and earth are flying away," Rev. xx. 11. 
But thou must come forth, and be reunited to a 
body, now formed for ever to endure agonies, which 
in this mortal state would have dissolved it in a mo- 
ment. You would not be persuaded to come to Christ 
before; you would stupidly neglect him, in spite of 
reason, in spite of conscience, in spite of all the ten- 
derest solicitations of the gospel, and the repeated 
admonitions of its most faithful ministers : but now, 
sinner, you shall have an interview with him; if that 
may be called an interview, in which you will not 
dare to lift up your head to view the face of your 
tremendous Judge. There, at least, how distant so- 
ever the time of our life, and the place of our abode, 
may have been, there shall we see how courageously 
your hearts will endure, and how " strong your hands 
will be, when the Lord doth this," Ezek. xxii. 14. 
There shall I see thee, reader, whoever thou art 
that goest on in thine impenitency, among thousands 
and ten thousands of despairing wretches, trembling 
and confounded. There shall I hear thy cries among 
the rest, rending the very heavens in vain. The Judge 
will rise from the tribunal with majestic composure, 
and leave thee to be hurried down to those everlast- 
ing burnings to which his righteous vengeance hath 
doomed thee because thou wouldst not be saved from 
them. Hell shall shut its mouth upon thee for ever, 
and the sad echo of thy groans and outcries shall be 
lost amidst the hallelujahs of heaven to all that find 
mercy of the Lord in that day. 

11. This will most assuredly be the end of these 
things; and thou, as a Christian, professest to know 
and to believe it. It moves my heart at least, if it 
moves not thine. I firmly believe that every one, 
who himself obtains salvation and glory, will bear 
so much of his Saviour's image in wisdom and good- 


ness, in zeal for God and a steady regard to the hap- 
piness of the whole creation, that he will behold this 
sad scene with calm approbation, and without any- 
painful commotion of mind. But as yet 1 am flesh 
and blood; and therefore my bowels are troubled, 
and mine eyes often overflow with grief, to think that 
wretched sinners will have no more compassion upon 
their own souls; to think that in spite of all admoni- 
tion, they will obstinately run upon final everlasting 
destruction. It would signify nothing to add a prayer 
here, or a meditation for your use. Poor creature ! you 
will not meditate ! you will not pray ! Yet, as I have 
often poured out my heart in prayer over a dying 
friend, when the force of his distemper has rendered 
him incapable of joining with me, so will I now apply 
myself to God for you, unhappy creature ! And 
if you disdain so much as to read what my compas- 
sion dictates, yet I hope they who have felt the power 
of the gospel on their own souls, as they cannot but 
pity such as you, will join with me in such cordial, 
though broken petitions as these : 


Almighty God ! " with thee all things are possible," 
Matt. xix. 26-, to thee, therefore, do I humbly apply 
myself in behalf of this dear immortal soul, which 
thou here seest perishing in its sins, and hardening 
itself against that everlasting gospel, which has been 
the power of God to the salvation of so many thou- 
sands and millions. Thou art witness, blessed 
God, thou art witness to the plainness and serious- 
ness with which the message has been delivered. It 
is in thy presence that these awful words have been 
written, and in thy presence have they been read. 
Be pleased, therefore, to record it in the book of thy 
remembrance, that so, if this wicked man dies in his 
iniquity, after the warning has been so plainly and 
so solemnly given him, his blood may not be required 


at my hand, Ezek. xxxiii. 8, 9 ; nor at the hand of that 
Christian friend, whoever he is, hy whom this book 
has been put into his, with a sincere desire for the 
salvation of his soul. Be witness, blessed Jesus, 
" in the day in which thou shalt judge the secrets of 
all hearts," Rom. ii. 16, that thy gospel has been 
preached to this hardened wretch, and salvation by 
thy blood has been offered him, though he continue 
to despise it. And may thine unworthy messenger 
be unto God a sweet savour in Christ, in this very 
soul, even though it should at last perish, 2 Cor. ii. 

But, that, after all his hardness and impeni- 
tence, thou wouldst still be pleased, by the sovereign 
power of thine efficacious grace, to awaken and con- 
vert him ! Well do we know, thou Lord of uni- 
versal nature, that He who made the soul can cause 
the sword of conviction to come near and enter into 
it. that, in thine infinite wisdom and love, thou 
wouldst find out a way to interpose, and save this 
sinner from death, from eternal death ! that, if it 
be thy blessed will, thou wouldst immediately do it ! 
Thou knowest, God, he is a dying creature: thou 
knowest that if any thing be done for him, it must 
be done quickly : thou seest, in the book of thy wise 
and gracious decrees, a moment marked, which must 
seal him up in an unchangeable state : that thou 
wouldst lay hold on him, while he is yet "joined to 
the living," and " hath hope!" Eccl. ix. 4. Thy im- 
mutable laws, in the dispensation of grace, forbid that 
a soul should be converted and renewed after its en- 
trance on the invisible world: let thy sacred Spirit 
work, while he is yet as it were within the sphere of 
his operations ! Work, God, by whatever method 
thou pleasest, only have mercy upon him ! Lord, 
have mercy upon him, that he sink not into those 
depths of damnation and ruin, on the very brink of 
which he so evidently appears ! that thou wouldst 
bring him, if that be necessary, and seem to thee 
most expedient, into any depths of calamity and dis- 
tress ! that, with Manasseh, he may be " taken in 


the thorns, and laden with the fetters of affliction," 
if that may but cause him " to seek the God of his 
fathers," 2 Cor. xxxiii. 11, 12. 

But I prescribe not to thine infinite wisdom. Thou 
hast displayed thy power in glorious and astonishing 
instances ; which I thank thee that I have so circum- 
stantially known, and by the knowledge of them 
have been fortified against the rash confidence of 
those who weakly and arrogantly pronounce that to 
be impossible which is actually done. Thou hast, I 
know, done that by a single thought in retirement, 
when the happy man reclaimed by it has been far 
from means, and far from ordinances, which neither 
the most awful admonitions, nor the most tender en- 
treaties, nor the most terrible afflictions, nor the most 
wonderful deliverances, had been able to effect. 

Glorify thy name, Lord, and glorify thy grace, 
in the method which to thine infinite wisdom shall 
seem most expedient! Only grant, I beseech thee, 
with all humble submission to thy will, that this sin- 
ner may be saved ; or if not, that the labour of this 
part may not be altogether in vain ; but that, if some 
reject it to their aggravated ruin, others may hearken 
and live : that those thy servants, who have labour- 
ed for their deliverance and happiness, may view 
them in the regions of glory, as the spoils which thou 
hast honoured them as the instruments of recovering ; 
and may join with them in the hallelujahs of heaven, 
" to him who hath loved us, and washed us from our 
sins in his own blood, and hath made us" of con- 
demned rebels, and accursed polluted sinners, " kings 
and priests unto God ; to him be glory and dominion 
for ever and ever," Amen. Rev. i. 5, 6. 




The case described at large, 1 — 4, as it frequently occurs, 5. Grant- 
ing all that the dejected soul charges on itself, 6. The invitations 
and promises of Christ give hope, 7. The reader urged, under 
all his burdens and fears, to an humble application to him, 8. 
Which is accordingly exemplified in the concluding reflection and 

1. I have now done with those unhappy creatures 
who despise the gospel, and with those who neglect 
it. With pleasure do I now turn myself to those 
who will hear me with more regard. Among the 
various cases which now present themselves to my 
thoughts, and demand my tender, affectionate, re- 
spectful care, there is none more worthy of compas- 
sion than that which I have mentioned in the title of 
this chapter ; none which requires a more immediate 
attempt of relief. 

2. It is very possible, some afflicted creature may 
be ready to cry out, It is enough : aggravate my grief 
and my distress no more. The sentence you have 
been so awfully describing, as what shall be passed 
and executed on the impenitent and unbelieving, is 
my sentence; and the terrors of it are my terrors. 
For " mine iniquities are gone up into the heavens/ ' 
Rev. xviii. 5, and my transgressions have reached 
unto the clouds. My case is quite singular. Surely 
there never was so great a sinner as I. I have re- 
ceived so many mercies, I have enjoyed so many ad- 
vantages, I have heard so many invitations of gospel 
grace ; and yet my heart has been so hard, and my 
nature is so exceeding sinful, and the number and 
aggravating circumstances of my provocations have 
been such, that I dare not hope. It is enough that 
God has supported me thus long; it is enough that, 
after so many years of wickedness, I am yet out of 



hell. Every day's reprieve is a mercy at which I 
am astonished. I lie down and wonder that death 
and damnation have not seized me in my walks the 
day past. I arise and wonder that my bed has not 
been my grave ; wonder that my soul is not separa- 
ted from my flesh, and surrounded with devils and 
damned spirits. 

3. I have indeed heard the message of salvation ; 
but, alas, it seems no message of salvation to me. 
There are happy souls that have hope; and their 
hope is indeed in Christ, and the grace of God mani- 
fested in him. But then they feel in their hearts an 
encouragement to apply to him; whereas I dare not 
do it. Christ and grace are things in which I fear I 
have no part, and must expect none. There are ex- 
ceeding rich and precious promises in the word of 
God; but they are to me as a sealed book, and are 
hid from me as to any personal use. I know Christ 
is able to save; I know he is willing to save some; 
but that he should be willing to save me, such a pol- 
luted, such a provoking creature, as, God knows, and 
as conscience knows, I have been, and to this day 
am; this I know not how to believe; and the utmost 
that I can do towards believing it is to acknowledge 
that it is not absolutely impossible, and that I do not 
yet lie down in complete despair; though, alas! I 
seem upon the very borders of it, and expect every 
day and hour to fall into it. 

4. I should not, perhaps, have entered so fully into 
this case if I had not seen many in it; and I will add, 
reader, for your encouragement, if it be your case, 
several who are now in the number of the most estab- 
lished, cheerful, and useful Christians. And I hope 
divine grace will add you to the rest, if " out of these 
depths" you be enabled to " cry unto God/' Psal. 
cxxx. 1, and though, like Jonah, you may seem to 
be " cast out from his presence," yet still with Jonah, 
you " look towards his holy temple," Jonah ii. 4. 

5. Let it not be imagined that it is in any neglect 
of that blessed Spirit, whose office it is to be the great 
Comforter, that I now attempt to reason you out of 


this disconsolate frame ; for it is as the great source 
of reason that he deals with rational creatures, and it 
is in the use of rational means and considerations that 
he may most justly be expected to operate. Give me 
leave, therefore, to address myself calmly to you y and 
to ask you what reason you have for all these passion- 
ate complaints and accusations against yourself? what 
reason have you to suggest that your case is singular, 
when so many have told you they have felt the same ? 
what reason have you to conclude so hardly against 
yourself, when the gospel speaks in such favourable 
terms? or what reason to imagine that the gracious 
things it says are not intended for you? You know 
indeed more of the corruptions of your own heart 
than you know of the hearts of others; and you make 
a thousand charitable excuses for their visible failings 
and infirmities which you make not for your own; 
and it may be some of those, whom you admire as 
eminent saints when compared with you, are on their 
part, humbling themselves in the dust as unworthy 
to be numbered among the least of God's people, and 
wishing themselves like you, in whom they think 
they see much more good, and much less of evil, than 
in themselves. 

6. But to suppose the worst: what if you were 
really the vilest sinner that ever lived upon the face 
of the earth ? what " if your iniquities had gone up 
unto the heavens," Rev. xviii. 5, every day, and your 
transgressions had reached unto the clouds, reached 
thither with such horrid aggravations, that earth and 
heaven should have had reason to detest you as a 
monster of impiety? Admitting all this, " is any thing 
too hard for the Lord?" Gen. xviii. 14; are any sins 
of which a sinner can repent of so deep a dye that 
the blood of Christ cannot wash them away? Nay 
though it would be daring wickedness and monstrous 
folly for any " to sin that grace might abound," Rom. 
vi. 1, yet had you indeed raised your account beyond 
all that divine grace has ever yet. pardoned, who 
should "limit the holy one of Israel?" Psal. lxxviii. 
41, or who should pretend to say that it was impos- 


sible that God might, for your very wretchedness 
choose you out from others, to make you a monu- 
ment of mercy, and a trophy of hitherto unparalleled 
grace ! The apostle Paul strongly intimates this to 
have been the case with regard to himself; and why 
might not you likewise, if indeed "the chief of sin- 
ners, obtain mercy, that in you, as the chief, Jesus 
Christ might show forth all long suffering, for a pat- 
tern to them who shall hereafter believe?" 1 Tim. i. 
15, 16. 

7. Gloomy as your apprehensions are, I would ask 
you plainly, Do you in your conscience think that 
Christ is not able to save you? What, is he not " able 
to save, even to the uttermost, them that come unto 
God by him," Heb. vii. 25. Yes, you will say, abun- 
dantly able to do it; but I dare not imagine that he 
will do it. And how do you know that he will not? 
He has helped the very greatest sinners of all, that 
have yet applied themselves to him; and he has made 
thee offers of grace and salvation in the most en- 
gaging and encouraging terms: "if any man thirst, 
let him come unto me and drink:" John vii. 37. Let 
him that is athirst come ; and whosoever will, let him 
take of the water of life freely:" Rev. xxii. 17. Come 
unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and 
I will give you rest," Matt. ix. 28, and, once more, 
" Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast 
out," John vi. 37. True, you will say, none that are 
given him by the Father: could I know I was of that 
number I could then apply cheerfully to him. But, 
dear reader, let me entreat you to look into the text 
itself, and see whether that limitation be expressly 
added there. Do you there read, " None of them 
whom the Father hath given me shall be cast out?" 
The words are in a much more encouraging form: 
and why should you frustrate his wisdom and good- 
ness by such an addition of your own ? " Add not 
to his words, lest he reprove thee:" Prov. xxx. 6, take 
them as they stand, and drink in the consolation of 
them. Our Lord knew into what perplexity some 
serious minds might possibly be thrown by what he 


bad before been saying, "All that the Father hath 
given me shall come unto me ;" and therefore as it 
were on purpose to balance it, he adds those gracious 
words, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise" 
by no means, on no consideration whatever, " cast 

8. If therefore you are already discouraged and 
terrified at the greatness of your sins, do not add to 
their weight and number that one greater and worse 
than all the rest, a distrust of the faithfulness and 
grace of the blessed Redeemer. Do not, so far as in 
you lies, oppose all the purposes of his love to you. 
distressed soul, whom dost thou dread? to whom 
dost thou tremble to approach? Is there any thing 
so terrible in a crucified Redeemer, in " the Lamb 
that was slain?" If thou carriest thy soul, almost 
sinking under the burden of its guilt, to lay it down 
at his feet, what dost thou offer him but the spoil 
which he bled and died to recover and possess? and 
did he purchase it so dearly that he might reject it 
with disdain? Go to him directly, and fall down in 
his presence, and plead that misery of thine which 
thou hast now been pleading in a contrary view, as 
an engagement to your own soul to make the appli- 
cation, and as an argument with the compassionate 
Saviour to receive you: go, and be assured, "that 
where sin hath abounded, there grace shall much 
more abound," Rom. v. 20. Be assured, that if one 
sinner can promise himself a more certain welcome 
than another, it is not he that is least guilty and 
miserable, but he that is most deeply humbled before 
God, under a sense of that misery and guilt, and lies 
the lowest in the apprehension of it. 


my soul, what sayest thou to these things? Is 
there not at least a possibility of help from Christ? 
and is there a possibility of help any other way ? Is 



" any other name given under heaven whereby we 
may be saved?" Acts iv. 12. I know there is none. 
I must then say, like the lepers of Israel, 2 Kings vii. 
4: If I sit here I perish, and if I make my applica- 
tion in vain, I can but die. But peradventure he 
may save my soul alive. I will therefore arise, and 
go unto him; or rather, believing him here by his 
spiritual presence, sinful and miserable as I am, I will 
this moment fall down on my face before him, and 
pour out my soul unto him. 

Blessed Jesus, I present myself unto thee as a 
wretched creature, driven indeed by necessity to do 
it. For, surely were not that necessity urgent and 
absolute, I should not dare for very shame to appear 
in thine holy and majestic presence. I am fully con- 
vinced that my sins and my follies have been inex- 
cusably great, more than I can express, more than I 
can conceive. I feel a source of sin in my corrupt 
and degenerate nature, which pours out iniquity as a 
fountain sends out its water, and makes me a burden 
and a terror to myself. Such aggravations have at- 
tended my transgressions, that it looks like presump- 
tion so much as to ask pardon of them; and yet would 
it not be greater presumption to say, that they exfteed 
thy mercy, and the efficacy of thy blood? to say that 
thou hast power and grace enough to pardon and 
save only sinners of a lower order, while such as I 
lie out of thy reach? Preserve me from that blas- 
phemous imagination ! Preserve me from that unrea- 
sonable suspicion! Lord, thou canst do all things, 
" neither is there any thought of mine heart with- 
holden from thee," Job xlii. 2. Thou art indeed as 
thy word declares, " able to save unto the uttermost," 
Heb. vii. 25, and therefore breaking through all the 
oppositions of shame and fear that would keep me 
from thee, I come and lie down as in the dust before 
thee. " Thou knowest, Lord, all my sins, and all 
my follies," Psal. lxix. 5. I cannot, and I hope I 
may say, I would not disguise them before thee, or 
set myself to find out plausible excuses. Accuse me, 
Lord, as thou pleasest; and I will ingenuously plead 


guilty to all thine accusations. I will own myself as 
great a sinner as thou callest me ; but I am still a 
sinner that comes unto thee for pardon. If I must 
die, it shall be submitting, and owning the justice of 
the fatal stroke. If I perish, it shall be " laying hold," 
as it were " on the horns of the altar;" laying myself 
down at thy footstool, though I have been such a 
rebel against thy throne. Many have received a full 
pardon there, have met with favour even beyond 
their hopes. And are all thy compassions, blessed 
Jesus, exhausted? and wilt thou now begin to reject 
an humble creature who flies to thee for life, and 
pleads nothing but mercy and free grace ? " Have 
mercy upon me," most gracious Redeemer, " have 
mercy upon me," and " let my life be precious in thy 
sight!" 2 Kings i. 14. 0, do not resolve to send me 
down to that state of final misery and despair, from 
which it was thy gracious purpose to deliver and save 
so many ! 

Spurn me not away, Lord, from thy presence, 
nor be offended when I presume to lay hold on thy 
royal robe, and say that I cannot and " will not let 
thee go till my suit is granted," Gen. xxxii. 26. Oh, 
remember, that my eternity is at stake ! Remember, 
Lord, that all my hopes of obtaining eternal hap- 
piness, and avoiding everlasting, helpless, hopeless 
destruction, are anchored upon thee : they hang upon 
thy smiles, or drop at thy frown. Oh, have mercy 
upon me, for the sake of this immortal soul of mine; 
or, if not for the sake of mine alone, for the sake of 
many others, who may, on the one hand, be encour- 
aged by thy mercy to me, or on the other, may be 
greatly wounded and discouraged by my helpless 
despair. I beseech thee, Lord, for thine own sake, 
and for the display of thy Father's rich and sovereign 
grace ; I beseech thee by the blood thou didst shed 
on the cross; I beseech thee by the covenant of grace 
and peace, into which the Father did enter with thee 
for the salvation of believing and repenting sinners, 
save me. Save me, Lord, who earnestly desire to 
repent and believe ! I am indeed a sinner, in whose 


final and everlasting destruction thy justice might be 
greatly glorified: but, oh, if thou wilt pardon me, 
it will be a monument raised to the honour of thy 
grace, and the efficacy of thy blood, in proportion to 
the degree in which the wretch, to whom thy mercy 
is extended, was mean and miserable without it. 
Speak, Lord, by thy blessed Spirit, and banish my 
fears. Look unto me with love and grace in thv 
countenance, and say to me as in the days of thy 
flesh thou didst to many an humble supplicant, " Thy 
sins are forgiven thee, go in peace." 



Transient impressions liable to be mistaken for conversion, which 
would be a fatal error, 1. General scheme for self-examination, 2. 
Particular inquiries; (1.) What views there have been of sin? 3. 
(2.) What views there have been of Christ? 4 ; as to the need the 
soul has of him, 5 ; and its willingness to receive him with a due 
surrender of heart to his service, 6. Nothing short of this suffi- 
cient, 7 ; the soul submitting to divine examination, the sincerity 
of its faith and repentance. 

1. In consequence of all the serious things which 
have been said in the former chapters, I hope it will 
be no false presumption to imagine that some reli- 
gious impressions may be made on hearts which had 
never felt them before; or may be revived where 
they have formerly grown cold and languid. Yet I 
am very sensible, and I desire that you may be so, 
how great danger there is of self-flattery on this im- 
portant head: and how necessary it is to caution men 
against too hasty a conclusion that they are really 
converted, because they have felt some warm emo- 
tion on their minds, and have reformed the gross irre- 
gularities of their former conduct. A mistake here 
might be infinitely fatal ; it may prove the occasion 


of that false peace, which shall lead a man to bless 
himself in his own heart, and to conclude himself se- 
cure, while all the threatenings and curses of God's 
law are sounding in his ears, and lie indeed directly 
against him, Deut. xxix. 1 9, 20 ; while in the mean 
time he applies to himself a thousand promises, in 
which he has no share; which may prove, therefore, 
like generous wine to a man in a high fever, or strong 
opiates to one in a lethargy. The stony ground re- 
ceived the word with joy, and a promising harvest 
seemed to be springing up : yet it soon withered 
away, Matt, xiii. 5, 6, and no reaper filled his arms 
with it. Now, that this may not be the case with 
you, that all my labours and yours hitherto may not 
be lost, and that a vain dream of security and happi- 
ness may not plunge you deeper in misery and ruin, 
give me leave to lead you into a serious inquiry into 
your own heart; that so you may be better able to 
judge of your case, and to distinguish between what 
is at most being only near the kingdom of heaven, 
and becoming indeed a member of it. 

2. Now this depends upon the sincerity of your 
faith in Christ, when faith is taken in its largest ex- 
tent, as explained above ; that is as comprehending 
repentance, and that steady purpose of new and uni- 
versal obedience, of which, wherever it is real, faith 
will assuredly be the vital principle. Therefore, to 
assist you in judging of your state, give me leave to 
ask you, or rather to entreat you to ask yourself, 
what views you have had, and now have of sin, and 
of Christ, and what your future purposes are with 
regard to your conduct in the remainder of life that 
may lie before you. I shall not reason largely upon 
the several particulars I suggest under these heads, 
but rather refer you to your own reading and obser- 
vation, to judge how agreeable they are to the word 
of God, the great rule by which our characters must 
quickly be tried, and our eternal state unalterably 

3. Inquire seriously, in the first place, what views 
you have had of sin, and what sentiments you have 


felt in your soul with regard to it. There was a time 
when it wore a nattering aspect, and made a fair 
enchanting appearance, so that all your heart was 
charmed with it, and it was the very business of your 
life to practise it. But you have since been unde- 
ceived: you have felt it "bite like a serpent, and 
sting like an adder," Prov. xxiii. 32 ; you have 
beheld it with an abhorrence far greater than the 
delight which it ever gave you. So far it is well. 
It is thus with every true penitent, and with some I 
fear who are not of that number. Let me, therefore, 
inquire further, whence arose this abhorrence ? Was 
it merely from a principle of self-love? was it merely 
because you had been wounded by it? was it merely 
because you had thereby brought condemnation and 
ruin upon your own soul? Was there no sense of 
its deformity, of its baseness, of its malignity, as com- 
mitted against the blessed God, considered as a glo- 
rious, a bountiful, and a merciful being? Were you 
never pierced by an apprehension of its vile ingrati- 
tude? And as for those purposes which have arisen 
in your heart against it, let me beseech you to reflect 
how they have been formed, and how they have 
hitherto been executed. Have they been universal? 
have they been resolute? and yet, amidst all that 
resolution, have they been humble? When you 
declared war with sin, was it with every sin ? and 
is it an irreconcilable war which you determine by 
divine grace to push on, till you have entirely con- 
quered it, or die in the attempt? And are you ac- 
cordingly active in your endeavours to subdue and 
destroy it? If so, what are "the fruits worthy of 
repentance which you bring forth?" Luke hi. 8. It 
does not, I hope, all flow away in floods of grief: 
have you ceased to do evil? are you learning to do 
well? Isa. i. 16, 17. Does your reformation show 
that you repent of your sins? or do your renewed 
relapses into sin prove that you repent even of what 
you call your repentance? Have you an inward 
abhorrence of all sin, and an unfeigned zeal against 
it ? And does that produce a care to guard against 


the occasions of it, and temptations to it? Do you 
watch against the circumstances that have ensnared 
you? And do you particularly double your guard 
against "that sin which does most easily beset you?" 
Heb. xii. 1. Is that laid aside, that the Christian 
race may be run : laid aside, with a firm determina- 
tion that you will return to it no more, that you will 
hold no more parley with it, that you will never take 
another step towards it ? 

4. Permit me also further to inquire, what your 
views of Christ have been, what you think of him, 
and of your concern with him. Have you been fully 
convinced that there must be a correspondence set- 
tled between him and your soul ; and do you see and 
feel, that you are not only to pay him a kind of dis- 
tant homage, and transient compliment, as a very 
wise, benevolent, and excellent person, whose name 
and memory you have a reverence for; but that, 
as he lives and reigns, as he is ever near you, and 
always observing you, so you must look to him, 
must approach him, must humbly transact business 
with him, and that, business of the highest import- 
ance, on which your salvation depends? 

5. You have been brought to inquire, " wherewith 
shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before 
the most high God?" Micah vi. 6. And once, per- 
haps, you were thinking of sacrifices, which your 
own stores might have been sufficient to furnish out. 
Are you now convinced they will not suffice, and 
that you must have recourse to the Lamb which God 
has provided ? Have you had a view of Jesus, as 
"taking away the sin of the world?" John i. 29; as 
" made a sin-offering for us, though he knew no sin, 
that we might be made the righteousness of God in 
him?" 2 Cor. v. 21. Have you viewed him as per- 
fectly righteous in himself? and, despairing of being 
justified by any righteousness of your own, have you 
"submitted to the righteousness of God?" Rom. x. 3. 
Has your heart ever been brought to a deep convic- 
tion of this important truth, that if ever you are saved 
at all, it must be through Christ; that if ever God 


extend mercy to you at all, it must be for his sake; 
that if ever you are fixed in the temple of God above, 
you must stand there as an everlasting trophy of that 
victory which Christ has gained over the powers of 
hell, who would otherwise have triumphed over you? 
6. Our Lord says, " Look unto me, and be ye 
saved,'' Isa. xlv. 22 ; he says, " If I be lifted up, I 
will draw all men unto me," John xii. 32. Have 
you looked to him as the only Saviour? have you 
been drawn unto him by that sacred magnet, the at- 
tractive influence of his dying love? Do you know 
what it is to come to Christ as a poor, " weary, and 
heavy laden sinner, that you may find rest?" Matt, 
xi. 28. Do you know what it is in a spiritual sense, 
to " eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of 
man?" John vi. 53; that is, to look upon Christ cru- 
cified as the great support of your soul, and to feel a 
desire after him, earnest as the appetite of nature 
after its necessary food. Have you known what it 
is cordially to surrender yourself to Christ, as a poor 
creature whom love has made his property? Have 
you committed your immortal soul to him, that he 
may purify and save it; that he may govern it by 
the dictates of his word, and the influences of his 
Spirit ; that he may use it for his glory ; that he may 
appoint it to what exercise and discipline he pleases, 
while it dwells here in flesh? and that he may re- 
ceive it at death, and fix it among those spirits, who, 
with perpetual songs of praise, surround his throne, 
and are his servants for ever! Have you heartily 
consented to this? and do you, on this account of the 
matter, renew your consent? do you renew it delibe- 
rately and determinately, and feel your whole soul, 
as it were, saying, Amen, while you read this? If 
this be the case, then I can with great pleasure give 
you, as it were, the right hand of fellowship, and 
salute and embrace you as a sincere disciple of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, as one who is " delivered from the 
power of darkness, and is translated into the king- 
dom of the Son of God," Col. i. 13. I can then salute 
you in the Lord, as one to whom, as a minister of 


Jesus, I am commissioned and charged to speak com- 
fortably, and to tell you, not that I absolve you from 
your sins, for it is a small matter to be judged of 
man's judgment, but that the blessed God himself 
absolves you; that you are one to whom he has said 
in his gospel, and is continually saying, " Your sins 
are forgiven you," Luke vii. 48; therefore go in 
peace, and take the comfort of it. 

7. But if you are a stranger to these experiences, 
and to this temper which I have now described, the 
great work is yet undone ; you are an impenitent and 
unbelieving sinner, and " the wrath of God abideth 
on you," John iii. 36. However you may have 
been awakened and alarmed, whatever resolutions 
you may have formed for amending your life, how 
right soever your notions may be, how pure soever 
your forms of worship, how ardent soever your zeal, 
how severe soever your mortification, how humane 
soever your temper, how inoffensive soever your life 
may be, I can speak no comfort to you. Vain are 
all your religious hopes, if there has not been a cor- 
dial humiliation before the presence of God for all 
your sins; if there has not been this avowed war 
declared against every thing displeasing to God ; if 
there has not been this sense of your need of Christ, 
and of your ruin without him; if there has not been 
this earnest application to him, this surrender of your 
soul into his hands by faith; this renunciation of 
yourself, that you might fix on him the anchor of 
your hope ; if there has not been this unreserved 
dedication of yourself to be at all times, and in all 
respects, the faithful servant of God through him; 
and if you do not with all this acknowledge that 
you are an unprofitable servant, who have no other 
expectation of acceptance or of pardon, but only 
through his righteousness and blood, and through the 
riches of divine grace in him ; I repeat it again, that 
all your hopes are vain, and you are building on the 
sand, Matt. vii. 26. The house you have already 
raised must be thrown down to the ground, and the 
foundation be removed and laid anew, or you and 


all your hopes will shortly be swept away with it, 
and buried under it in everlasting ruin. 


Lord God, thou " searchest all hearts, and triest 
the reins of the children of men," Jer. xvii. 10. 
" Search me, Lord, and know my heart ; try me, 
and know my thoughts; and see if there be any 
wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlast- 
ing," Psal. cxxxix. 23, 24. Does not my conscience, 
Lord, testify in thy presence, that my repentance 
and faith are such as have been described, or at least, 
that it is my earnest prayer that they may be so? 
Come, therefore, thou blessed Spirit, who art the 
Author of all grace and consolation, and work this 
temper more fully in my soul. represent sin to 
mine eyes in all its most odious colours, that I may 
feel a mortal and irreconcilable hatred to it ! re- 
present the majesty and mercy of the blessed God in 
such a manner, that my heart may be alarmed, and 
that it may be melted ! " Smite the rock, that the 
waters may flow/ 7 Psal. lxxviii. 20, waters of genu- 
ine, undissembled, and filial repentance. " Convince 
me," thou blessed Spirit, " of sin, of righteousness, 
and of judgment," John xvi. 8. Show me that I 
have undone myself, " but that my help is found in 
God alone," Hos. xiii. 9, in God through Christ, in 
whom alone he will extend compassion and help 
to me. According to thy peculiar office, " take of 
Christ, and show it unto me," John xvi. 15. Show 
me his power to save. Show me his willingness to 
exert that power. Teach my faith to behold him, 
as extended on the cross, with open arms, and with 
a pierced bleeding side ; and so telling me, in the 
most forcible language, what room there is in his 
very heart for me ; may I know what it is to have 
my whole heart subdued by love ! so subdued, as to 
be " crucified with him," Rom. vi. 6, to be dead to 
sin, and dead to the world, "but alive unto God 


through Jesus Christ," Rom. vi. 11. In his power 
and love may I confide ! To him may I, without 
any reserve, commit my spirit! His image may I 
bear! His laws may I observe; his service may I 
pursue ! And may I remain through time and eter- 
nity, a monument of the efficacy of his gospel, and 
a trophy of his victorious grace ! 

blessed God, if there be any thing wanting to- 
wards constituting me a sincere Christian, discover 
it to me, and work it in me ! Beat down, I beseech 
thee, every false and presumptuous hope, how costly 
soever that building may have been which is thus 
laid in ruins, and how proud soever I may have been 
of its vain ornaments. Let me know the worst of 
my case, be that knowledge ever so distressful ; and 
if there be remaining danger, let my heart be fully 
sensible of it, sensible while yet there is remedy. 

If there be any secret sin yet lurking in my soul, 
which I have not sincerely renounced, discover it to 
me, and rend it out of my heart, though it should 
have shot its roots ever so deep, and should have 
wrapped them all around it, so that every nerve 
should be pained by the separation. Tear it away, 
Lord, by a hand graciously severe ! and by degrees, 
yea, Lord, by speedy advances, go on, 1 beseech thee, 
to perfect what is still lacking in my faith, 1 Thess. 
iii. 10. Accomplish in me "all the good pleasure 
of thy goodness/' 2 Thess. i. 11. Enrich me, hea- 
venly Father, with all the graces of thy Spirit; form 
me to the complete image of thy dear Son: and then, 
for his sake, come unto me, and manifest thy gracious 
presence in my soul, John xiv. 21, 23, till it is ripened 
for that state of glory, for which all these operations 
are intended to prepare it. Amen. 




The importance of the case engages to a more particular survey, 
what manner of spirit we are of, 1, 2. Accordingly the Christian 
temper is described, (1.) By some general views of it; as a new 
and divine temper, 3 ; As resembling that of Christ, 4 ; And as 
engaging us to be spiritually-minded, and to walk by faith, 5. A 
plan of the remainder, 6 ; in which the Christian temper is more 
particularly considered. (2) With regard to the blessed God : as 
including fear, affection and obedience, 7. Faith and love to 
Christ., 8, 9 ; Joy in him, 10. And a proper temper towards the 
holy Spirit, particularly as a spirit of adoption, and of courage, 
11 — 13. (3.) With regard to ourselves ; as including preference 
of the soul to the body, humility, purity, 14. temperance, 15. con- 
tentment, 16. and patience, 17. (4.) With regard to our fellow- 
creatures; as including love, 18. meekness, 19. peaceableness, 20. 
mercy, 21. truth, 22. and candour in judging, 23. (5.) General 
qualifications of each branch, 24. such as sincerity, 25. constan- 
cy, 26. tenderness, 27. zeal, 28. and prudence, 29. These things 
should frequently be recollected, 30. A review of all in spiritual 

1. When I consider the infinite importance of eter- 
nity, I find it exceedingly difficult to satisfy myself in 
any thing which I can say to men, where their eter- 
nal interests are concerned. I have given you a view, 
I hope I may truly say, a just as well as faithul view, 
of a truly Christian temper already. Yet, for your 
further assistance, I would offer it to your considera- 
tion in various points of light, that you may be assist- 
ed in judging of what you are, and of what you 
ought to be. And in this I aim, not only at your 
conviction, if you are yet a stranger to real religion, 
but at your further edification, if by the grace of God 
you are by this time experimentally acquainted with 

* N. B. This chapter is almost an abridgment of that excellent 
book of Dr. Evans, entitled, " The Christian Temper," so far as it 
relates to the description of it. For particular arguments, to enforce 
each part of this temper, I must refer the reader to the book itself. 


it. Happy will you be, happy beyond expression, 
if, as you go on from one article to another, you can 
say, " This is my temper and character." Happy in 
no inconsiderable degree, if you can say, " This is 
what I desire, what I pray for, and what I pursue, in 
preference to every opposite view, though it be not 
what I have as yet attained." 

2. Search then, and try, "what manner of spirit 
you are of," Luke ix. 55. And may " he that search- 
eth all hearts" direct the inquiry; and enable you so 
to judge yourself, that you may not be condemned 
of the Lord, 1 Cor. xi. 31, 32. 

3. Know, in the general, that if you are " a Chris- 
tian indeed," you have been "renewed in the spirit 
of your mind," Eph. iv. 23, so renewed as to be re- 
generate " and born again." It is not enough to have 
assumed a new name, to have been brought under 
some new restraints, or to have made a partial change 
in some particulars of your conduct. The change 
must be great and universal. Inquire then, whether 
you have entertained new apprehensions of things, 
have formed a practical judgment different from what 
you formerly did: whether the ends you propose, 
the affections, which you feel working in your heart, 
and the course of action to which, by those affections, 
you are directed, be on the whole new or old. — 
Again, if you are a Christian indeed, you are " par- 
taker of a divine nature," 2 Pet. i. 4, divine in its 
original, its tendency, and its resemblance. Inquire 
therefore whether God hath implanted a principle in 
your heart which tends to him, and which makes you 
like him. Search your soul attentively, to see if you 
have really the image there of God's moral perfec- 
tions, of his holiness and righteousness, his goodness 
and fidelity; for "the new man is after God created 
in righteousness and true holiness," Eph. iv. 24, and 
" is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that 
created him," Col. hi. 10. 

4. For your further assistance, inquire whether 
" the same mind be in you which was also in Christ," 



Phil. ii. 5; whether you bear the image of God's in- 
carnate Son, the brightest and the fairest resemblance 
of the Father, which earth or heaven has ever be- 
held? The blessed Jesus designed himself to be a 
model for all his followers; and he is certainly a 
model most fit for our imitation; an example in our 
nature, and in circumstances adapted to general use ; 
an example recommended to us at once by its spot- 
less perfection, and by the endearing relation in 
which he stands to us, as our Master, our friend, and 
our head, as the person by whom our everlasting 
state is to be fixed, and in a resemblance to whom 
our final happiness is to consist, if ever we are happy 
at all. Look then into the life and temper of Christ, 
as described and illustrated in the gospel, and search 
whether you can find any thing like it in your own 
life. Have you any thing of his devotion, love, and 
resignation to God? Any thing of his humility, 
meekness, and benevolence to men? Any thing of 
his purity and wisdom, his contempt of the world, 
his patience, his fortitude, his zeal? And indeed, all 
the other branches of the Christian temper, which do 
not imply previous guilt in the person, by whom they 
are exercised, may be called in to illustrate and assist 
your inquiries under this head. 

5. Let me add, if you are a Christian, you are in 
the main " spiritually minded, as knowing that is life 
and peace; whereas to be carnally minded is death/' 
Rom. viii. 6. Though you " live in the flesh, you 
will not war after it," 2 Cor. x. 3, you will not take 
your orders and your commands from it. You will 
indeed attend to its necessary interests as matter of 
duty, but it will still be with regard to another and a 
nobler interest, that of the rational and immortal spi- 
rit. Your thoughts, your affections, your pursuits, 
your choice, will be determined by a regard to things 
spiritual rather than carnal. — In a word " you will 
walk by faith, and not by sight," 2 Cor. v. 7. Future, 
invisible, and, in some degree, incomprehensible ob- 
jects, will take up your mind. Your faith will act on 


the being of God, his perfections, his providences, his 
precepts, his threatenings, and his promises. It will 
act upon Christ, whom having not seen, you will 
love and honour, 1 Pet. i. 8. It will act on that un- 
seen world, which it knows to be eternal, and there- 
fore infinitely more worthy of your affectionate re- 
gard, than any of "those things which are seen, and 
are temporal," 2 Cor. iv. 13. 

6. These are general views of the Christian tem- 
per, on which I would entreat you to examine your- 
self. And now I would go on to lead you into a 
survey of the grand branches of it, as relating to God, 
our neighbour, and ourselves : and of those qualifica- 
tions which must attend each of these branches; such 
as sincerity, constancy, tenderness, zeal and prudence. 
And I beg your diligent, attention, while I lay before 
you a few hints with regard to each, by which you may 
judge the better both of your state and of your duty. 

7. Examine, then, I entreat you, " the temper of 
your heart, with regard to the blessed God." Do you 
find there a reverential fear, and a supreme love and 
veneration for his incomparable excellencies, a desire 
after him as the highest good, and a cordial gratitude 
towards him as your supreme benefactor? Can you 
trust his care ? Can you credit his testimony? Do 
you desire to pay an unreserved obedience to all that 
he commands, and an humble submission to all the 
disposals of his providence ? Do you design his glory 
as your noblest end, and make it the great business 
of your life to approve yourself to him ? Is it your 
governing care to imitate him, and to " serve him in 
spirit and in truth?" John iv. 24. 

8. Faith in Christ I have already described at large; 
and therefore shall say nothing further, either of that 
persuasion of his power and grace, which is the great 
foundation of it; or of that acceptance of Christ under 
all his characters, or that surrender of the soul into 
his hands, in which its peculiar and distinguishing 
nature consists. 

9. If this faith in Christ be sincere, " it will un- 
doubtedly produce a love to him;" which will ex- 


press itself in affectionate thoughts of him; in strict 
fidelity to him ; in a careful observation of his charge ; 
in a regard to his Spirit, to his friends, and to his in- 
terests; in a reverence to the memorials of his dying 
love, which he has instituted; and in an ardent desire 
after that heavenly world where he dwells, and where 
he will at length " have all his people to dwell with 
him," John xvii. 24. 

10. I may add, agreeably to the word of God, that 
thus believing in Christ, and loving him, you will 
" also rejoice in him;" in his glorious design, and in 
his complete fitness to accomplish it ; in the promises 
of his word, and in the privileges of his people. It 
will be matter of joy to you that such a Redeemer 
has appeared in this world of ours; and your joy for 
yourself will be proportionable to the degree of 
clearness with which you discern your interest in 
him, and relation to him. 

11. Let me further lead you into some reflections 
on the temper of your heart towards the blessed Spi- 
rit. If we " have not the Spirit of Christ, we are none 
of his," Rom. viii. 9. If we are not " led by the 
Spirit of God, we are not the children of God," Rom. 
viii. 14. You will then, if you are a real Christian, 
desire that you may " be filled with the Spirit," Eph. 
v. 18, that you may have every power of your soul 
subject to his authority; that his agency on your 
heart may be more constant, more operative, and 
more delightful. And to cherish these sacred influ- 
ences, you will often have recourse to serious consi- 
deration and meditation: you will abstain from those 
sins which tend to grieve him : you will improve the 
tender seasons in which he seems to breathe upon 
your soul; you will strive earnestly with God in 
prayer, that you may have him " shed on you" still 
more " abundantly through Jesus Christ," Tit. hi. 6, 
and you will be desirous to fall in with the great end 
of his mission, which was to " glorify Christ," John 
xvi. 14, and to establish his kingdom. You will de- 
sire his influences, as the Spirit of adoption, to render 
your acts of worship free and affectionate ; your sor- 


row for sin overflowing and tender; your resignation 
meek, and your love ardent : in a word, to carry you 
through life and death with the temper of a child 
who delights in his father, and who longs for his 
more immediate presence. 

12. Once more. If you are a Christian indeed, you 
will be desirous to obtain the spirit of courage. Amidst 
all that humility of soul to which you will be formed, 
you will wish to commence a hero in the cause of 
Christ, opposing with a vigorous resolution, the 
strongest efforts of the power of darkness, the inward 
corruption of your own heart, and all the outward 
difficulties you may meet with in the way of your 
duty, while in the cause and in the strength of Christ 
you go on " conquering and to conquer." 

1 3. All these things may be considered as branches 
of godliness; of that godliness which is "profitable 
for all things," and hath the "promise of the life 
which now is, and of that which is to come," 1 Tim. 
iv. 8. 

14. Let me now further lay before you some 
branches of the Christian temper, which relate more 
immediately to ourselves. And here, if you are a 
Christian indeed, you will undoubtedly " prefer the 
soul to the body, and things eternal to those things 
that are temporal." Conscious of the dignity and 
value of your immortal part, you will come to a firm 
resolution to secure its happiness, whatever is to be 
resigned, whatever is to be endured in that view. If 
you are a real Christian, you will be also " clothed 
with humility," 1 Pet. v. 5. You will have a deep 
sense of your own imperfections, both natural and 
moral; of the short extent of your knowledge, of the 
uncertainty and weakness of your resolutions, and of 
your continual dependence upon God, and upon al- 
most every thing about you. And especially, you 
will be deeply sensible of your guilt; the remem- 
brance of which will fill you with shame and confu- 
sion, even when you have some reason to hope it is 
forgiven. This will forbid all haughtiness and inso- 
lence in your behaviour to your fellow-creatures. It 


will teach you under afflictive providences, with all 
holy submission to " bear the indignation of the 
Lord," as those that know they have sinned against 
him," Micah vii. 9. Again, if you are a Christian in- 
deed, you will labour after "purity of soul," and main- 
tain a fixed abhorrence of all prohibited sensual in- 
dulgence. A recollection of past impurities will fill 
you with shame and grief; and you will endeavour 
for the future to guard your thoughts and desires, as 
well as your words and actions, and to abstain not 
only from the commission of evil, but from the dis- 
tant appearance and probable occasions of it, 1 Thes. 
v. 22, as conscious of the perfect holiness of that God 
with whom you converse, and of the purifying na- 
ture of that hope, 1 John iii. 3, which, by his gospel 
he has taught you to entertain. 

15. With this is nearly allied that "amiable vir- 
tue of temperance," which will teach you to guard 
against such a use of meats and drinks as indisposes 
the body for the service of the soul; or such an indul- 
gence in either, as will rob you of that precious jewel, 
your time, or occasion an expense beyond what your 
circumstances will admit, and beyond what will con- 
sist with what you owe to the cause of Christ, and 
those liberalities to the poor, which your relation and 
theirs to God and each other will require. In short, 
you will guard against whatever has a tendency 
to increase a sensual disposition; against whatever 
would alienate the soul from communion with God, 
and would diminish its zeal and activity in his service. 

16. The divine philosophy of the blessed Jesus will 
also teach you " a contented temper." It will mode- 
rate your desires of those worldly enjoyments, after 
which many feel such an insatiable thirst, ever grow- 
ing with indulgence and success. You will guard 
against an immoderate care about those things which 
would lead you into a forgetfulness of your heavenly 
inheritance. If Providence disappoint your under- 
takings you will submit. If others be more prosper- 
ous, you will not envy them; but rather will be 
thankful for what God is pleased to bestow upon 


them, as well as for what he gives you. No unlaw- 
ful methods will be used to alter your present condi- 
tion; and whatever it is, you will endeavour to make 
the best of it ; remembering it is what infinite Wis- 
dom and Goodness have appointed you, and that it 
is beyond all comparison better than you have de- 
served; yea, that the very deficiencies and inconve- 
niences of it may conduce to the improvement of 
your future and complete happiness. 

17. With contentment, if you are a disciple of 
Christ, "You will join patience too," and "in pa- 
tience will possess your soul." Luke xxi. 19. You 
cannot indeed be quite insensible either of afflictions 
or of injuries ; but your mind will be calm and com- 
posed under them, and steady in the prosecution of 
proper duty, though afflictions press, and though your 
hopes, your dearest hopes and prospects be delayed. 
Patience will prevent hasty and rash conclusions, and 
fortify you against seeking irregular methods of re- 
lief; disposing you, in the mean time, till God shall 
be pleased to appear for you, to go on steadily in the 
way of your duty ; " committing yourself to him in 
well-doing," 1 Pet. iv. 19. You will also be careful, 
that "patience may have its perfect work," James i. 
4, and prevail in proportion to those circumstances 
which demand its peculiar exercise. For instance, 
when the successions of evil are long and various, 
so that deep calls to deep, and all God's waves and 
billows seem to be going over you one after another; 
Psal. xlii. 7; when God touches you in the most 
tender part; when the reasons of his conduct to you 
are quite unaccountable; when your natural spirits 
are weak and decayed; when unlawful methods of 
redress seem near and easy ; still your reverence for 
the will of your heavenly Father will carry it against 
all, and keep you waiting quietly for deliverance in 
his own time and way. 

18. I have thus led you into a brief review of the 
Christian temper, with respect to God and ourselves: 
permit me now to add, That the gospel will teach 
you another set of very important lessons with re- 


spect to your fellow-creatures. They are all summed 
up in this : " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy- 
self," Rom. xiii. 9; and " whatsoever thou wouldst" 
(that is, whatsoever thou couldst in an exchange of 
circumstances fairly and reasonably desire,) " that 
others should do unto thee, do thou likewise the 
same unto them," Matt. vii. 12. The religion of the 
blessed Jesus, when it triumphs in your soul, will con- 
quer the predominancy of an irregular self-love, and 
will teach you candidly and tenderly to look upon 
your neighbour as another self. As you are sensible 
of your own rights, you will be sensible of his ; as 
you support your own character, you will support 
his. You will desire his welfare, and be ready to 
relieve his necessity, as you would have your own 
consulted by another. You will put the kindest con- 
struction upon his most dubious words and actions: 
you will take pleasure in his happiness: you will feel 
his distress, in some measure, as your own. And 
most happy will you be, when this obvious rule is 
familiar to your mind, when this golden law is writ- 
ten upon your heart; and when it is habitually and 
impartially consulted by you upon every occasion, 
whether great or small. 

19. The gospel will also teach you, "to put on 
meekness," Col. in. 12 ; not only with respect to God, 
submitting to the authority of his word, and the dis- 
posal of his Providence, as was urged before, but also 
with regard to your brethren of mankind. Its gentle 
instructions will form you to calmness of temper un- 
der injuries and provocations, so that you may not 
be angry without or beyond just cause. It will en- 
gage you to guard your words, lest you provoke and 
exasperate those you should rather study by love to 
gain, and by tenderness to heal. Meekness will ren- 
der you slow in using any rough and violent methods, 
if they can by any means be lawfully avoided; and 
ready to admit, and even to propose, a reconciliation, 
after they have been entered into, if there yet may 
be hope of succeeding. So far as this branch of the 
Christian temper prevails in your heart, you will take 


care to avoid every thing which might give unneces- 
sary offence to others ; you will behave yourself in a 
modest manner, according to your station; and it will 
work, both with regard to superiors and inferiors; 
teaching you duly to honour the one, and not to 
overbear or oppress the other. And in religion itself, 
it will restrain all immoderate sallies and harsh cen- 
sures ; and will command down that wrath of man, 
which, instead of working, so often opposes, the 
righteousness of God, James i. 20, and shames and 
wounds that good cause in which it is boisterously 
and furiously engaged. 

20. With this is naturally connected " a peaceful 
disposition." If you are a Christian indeed, you will 
have such a value and esteem for peace, as to endea- 
vour to obtain and preserve it " as much as lieth in 
you," Rom. xii. 18, as much as you fairly and hon- 
ourably can. This will have such an influence upon 
your conduct, as to make you not. only cautious of 
giving offence, and slow in taking it, but earnestly 
desirous to regain peace as soon as may be, when it 
is in any measure broken; that the wound may be 
healed while it is green, and before it begins to ran- 
kle and fester. And more especially this disposition 
will engage you " to keep the unity of the Spirit in 
the bond of peace," Eph. iv. 3, with all that in " every 
place call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," 1 
Cor. i. 2 ; whom, if you truly love, you will also love 
all those whom you have reason to believe to be his 
disciples and servants. 

21. If you be yourself indeed of that, number, 
you will also " put on bowels of mercy," Col. hi. 12. 
The mercies of God, and those of the blessed Redeem- 
er, will work on your heart, to mould it to sentiments 
of compassion and generosity, so that you will feel 
the wants and sorrows of others; you will desire to 
relieve their necessities, and, as you have opportuni- 
ty, you will do good both to their bodies and their 
souls; expressing your kind affections in suitable ac- 
tions, which may both evidence their sincerity and 
render them effectual. 



22. As a Christian, you will also maintain truth 
inviolable, not only in your solemn testimonies, when 
confirmed by an oath, but likewise in common con- 
versation. You will remember, too, that your prom- 
ises bring an obligation upon you, which you are by 
no means at liberty to break through. On the whole, 
you will be careful to keep a strict correspondence 
between your words and your actions, in such a 
manner as becomes a servant of the God of truth. 

23. Once more, as amidst the strictest care to ob- 
serve all the divine precepts you will still find many 
imperfections, on account of which you will be 
obliged to pray that " God would not enter into strict 
judgment with you," as well knowing " that in his 
sight you cannot be justified," Psal. cxliii. 2; you 
will be careful not to judge others in such a manner 
as should awaken the severity of his judgment against 
yourself, Matt. vii. 1, 2. You will not, therefore, 
judge them pragmatically, that is, when you have 
nothing to do with their actions; nor rashly, without 
inquiring into circumstances; nor partially, without 
weighing them attentively and fairly; nor unchari- 
tably, putting the worst construction upon things in 
their own nature dubious, deciding upon intentions 
as evil, further than they certainly appear to be so, 
pronouncing on the state of men, or on the whole of 
their character, from any particular action, and in- 
volving the innocent with the guilty. There is a 
moderation contrary to all these extremes, which the 
gospel recommends ; and if you receive the gospel in 
good earnest into your heart, it will lay the axe to 
the root of such evils as these. 

24. Having thus briefly illustrated the principal 
branches of the Christian temper and character, I 
shall conclude the representation with reminding you 
of some general qualifications, which must be min- 
gled with all, and give a tincture to each of them; 
such as sincerity, constancy, tenderness, zeal and 

25. Always remember, " that sincerity is the very 
soul of true religion." A single intention to please 


God, and to approve ourselves to him, must animate 
and govern all that we do in it. Under the influence 
of this principle you will impartially inquire into 
every intimation of duty, and apply to the practice 
of it so far as it is known to you. Your heart will 
be engaged in all you do. Your conduct in private 
and in secret will be agreeable to your most public 
behaviour. A sense of the divine authority will teach 
you to " esteem all God's precepts concerning all 
things to be right, and to hate every false way," 
Psal. cxix. 12S. 

26. Thus are you " in simplicity and godly sinceri- 
ty to have your conversation in the world," 2 Cor. i. 
12. And you are also to charge it upon your soul 
to be " steadfast and immovable, always abounding 
in the work of the Lord," 1 Cor. xv. 58. There 
must not only be some sudden fits and starts of 
devotion, or of something which looks like it, but 
religion must be an habitual and permanent thing. 
There must be a purpose to adhere to it at all times. 
It must be made the stated and ordinary business of 
life. Deliberate and presumptuous sins must be care- 
fully avoided; a guard must be maintained against 
the common infirmities of life ; and falls of one kind 
or of another must be matter of proportionate humi- 
liation before God, and must occasion renewed reso- 
lution for his service. And thus you are to go on to 
the end of your life, not discouraged by the length 
and difficulty of the way, nor allured on the one 
hand, or terrified on the other, by all the various 
temptations which may surround and assault you. 
Your soul must be fixed on this basis, and you are 
still to behave yourself as one who knows he serves 
an unchangeable God, and who expects from him a 
kingdom which cannot be removed, Heb. xii. 28. 

27. Again, so far as the gospel prevails in your 
heart, " your spirit will be tender, and the stone will 
be transformed into flesh." You will desire that 
your apprehensions of divine things may be quick, 
your affections ready to take proper impressions, 
your conscience always easily touched, and, on the 


whole, your resolutions pliant to the divine authority, 
and cordially willing to be, and to do, whatever God 
shall appoint. You will have a tender regard to the 
word of God, a tender caution against sin, a tender 
guard against the snares of prosperity, a tender sub- 
mission to God's afflicting hand: in a word, you will 
be tender wherever the divine honour is concerned: 
and careful neither to do any thing yourself, nor to 
allow any thing in another, so far as you can influ- 
ence, by which God should be offended, or religion 

28. Nay, more than all this, you will, so far as 
true Christianity governs in your mind, " exert a 
holy zeal in the service of your Redeemer and your 
Father." You will be zealously affected in every 
good thing, Gal. iv. 18, in proportion to its appre- 
hended goodness and importance. You will be zeal- 
ous especially to correct what is irregular in your- 
self, and to act to the uttermost of your ability for 
the cause of God. Nor will you be able to look with 
an indifferent eye on the conduct of others in this 
view ; but, as far as charity, meekness, and prudence 
will admit, you will testify your disapprobation of 
every thing in it which is dishonourable to God and 
injurious to men. And you will labour not only to 
reclaim men from such courses, but to engage them 
to religion, and to quicken them in it. 

29. And, once more, you will desire "to use the 
prudence which God hath given you," in judging 
what is, in present circumstances, your duty to God, 
your neighbour and yourself; what will be, on the 
whole, the most acceptable manner of discharging it, 
and how far it may be most advantageously pursued; 
as remembering, that he is indeed the wisest and the 
happiest man, who, by constant attention of thought, 
discovers the greatest opportunities of doing good, 
and with ardent and animated resolution breaks 
through every opposition that he may improve those 

30. This is such a view of the Christian temper as 
could conveniently be thrown within such narrow 


limits; and, I hope it may assist many in the great 
and important work of self-examination. Let your 
own conscience answer how far you have already 
attained it, and how far you desire it; and let the 
principal topics here touched upon be fixed in your 
memory and in your heart, that you may be men- 
tioning them before God in your daily addresses to 
the throne of grace, in order to receive from him all 
necessary assistance for bringing them into practice. 


Blessed God, I humbly adore thee, as the great 
" Father of lights, and the giver of every good and 
every perfect gift," James i. 7. From thee, therefore, 
I seek every blessing, and especially those which may 
lead me to thyself, and prepare me for the eternal en- 
joyment of thee. I adore thee as "the God who 
searches the heart, and tries the reins of the children 
of men," Jer. xvii. 10. " Search me, God, and know 
my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: see if 
there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the 
way everlasting," Psal. cxxxix. 23, 24. May I know 
" what manner of spirit I am of," Luke ix. 55, and 
be preserved from mistaking where the error might 
be infinitely fatal ! 

May I, Lord, " be renewed in the spirit of my 
mind !" Eph. iv. 23. "A new heart do thou give me, 
and a new spirit do thou put within me ! Ezek. xxxvi. 
26. "Make me partaker of divine nature;" 2 Pet. 
i. 4, and " as he who hath called me is holy, may I 
be holy in all manner of conversation!" 1 Pet. i. 15. 
May " the same mind be in me that was also in Christ 
Jesus;" Phil. ii. 5; may 1 " so walk even as he walk- 
ed!" 1 John ii. 6. " Deliver me from being carnally- 
minded, which is death; and make me spiritually- 
minded, since that is life and peace!" Rom. viii. 6. 
And may I, while I pass through this world of sense, 
"walk by faith and not by sight; 2 Cor. v. 7, and be 
strong in faith, giving glory to God!" Rom. iv. 20. 



May " thy grace, Lord, which hath appeared 
unto all men," and appeared to me with such glori- 
ous evidence and lustre, " effectually teach me to 
deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live sober- 
ly, righteously, and godly!" Tit. ii. 11, 12. Work 
in mine heart that " godliness which is profitable unto 
all things:" 1 Tim. iv. 8, and teach me, by the influ- 
ences of thy blessed Spirit, to love thee the Lord my 
God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and 
with all my mind, and with all my strength ! Mark 
xii. 30. May I yield myself unto thee as alive from 
the dead; Rom. vi. 13, and "present my body a liv- 
ing sacrifice, holy and acceptable in thy sight, which 
is my most reasonable service," Rom. xii. 1. May I 
entertain the most faithful and affectionate regard to 
the blessed Jesus, thine incarnate Son, " the bright- 
ness of thy glory, and the express image of thy per- 
son!" Heb. i. 3. Though I have not seen him, may 
I love him ; and in " him, though now I see him not, 
yet believing, may I rejoice with joy unspeakable 
and full of glory:" 1 Pet. i. 8. And may "the life 
which I live in the flesh," be daily "by the faith of 
the Son of God !" Gal. ii. 20. May I " be filled with 
the Spirit; Eph. v. IS, and may I be led by it;" Rom. 
viii. 14, and so may it be evident to others, and espe- 
cially to my own soul, that I am a child of God, and 
an heir of glory. May I " not receive the spirit of 
bondage unto fear, but the spirit of adoption, where- 
by I may be enabled to cry, Abba, Father!" Rom. 
viii. 15. May he work in me as "the spirit of love, 
and of power, and of a sound mind," 2 Tim. i. 7, that 
so I may " add to my faith virtue !" 2 Pet. i. 5. May 
I be strong and very courageous, Josh. i. 7, and quit 
myself like a man, 1 Cor. xvi. 13, and like a Chris- 
tian, in the work to which I am called, and in that 
warfare ivhich I had in view when I listed under the 
banner of the great Captain of my salvation. 

Teach me, Lord, seriously to consider the nature 
of my own soul, and to set a suitable value upon it! 
May I "labour not only," or chiefly, "for the meat 
that perisheth, but for that which endureth to eter- 


nal life !" John vi. 27. May I " humble myself under 
thy mighty hand," and be " clothed with humility; 
1 Pet. v. 5, 6, decked with the ornament of a meek 
and quiet spirit, which, in the sight of God, is of 
great price !" 1 Pet. iii. 4. May I be " pure in heart, 
that I may see God," Matt. v. 8; mortifying my 
members which are on the earth," Col. iii. 5, so that 
if a right eye offend me, I may pluck it out; and if 
a right hand offend me, I may cut it off!" Matt. v. 
29, 30. " May I be temperate in all things, 1 Cor. ix. 
25, content with such things as I have, Heb. xiii. 5, 
and instructed to be so in whatsoever state I am!" 
Phil. iv. 11. May " patience also have its perfect 
work in me, that I may be in that respect complete, 
and wanting nothing!" James i. 4. 

Form me, Lord, I beseech thee, to a " proper 
temper toward my fellow-creatures." May I love 
"my neighbour as myself; Gal. v. 14; and whatso- 
ever I would that others should do unto me, may I 
also do the same unto them." Matt. vii. 12. May I 
"put on meekness," Col. iii. 12, under the greatest 
injuries and provocations; "and, if it be possible, as 
much as lieth in me, may I live peaceably with all 
men." Rom. xii. 18. May I be "merciful, as my 
Father in heaven is merciful." Luke vi. 36. May I 
speak the "truth from my heart," Psal. xv. 2; and 
may I speak "it in love," Eph. iv. 15; guarding 
against every instance of a censorious and malignant 
disposition; and taking care not " to judge" severely, 
as I would not "be judged," Matt. iii. 1, with a 
severity which thou, Lord, knowest, and which my 
own conscience knows, I should not be able to sup- 

I entreat thee, Lord, to work in me " all those 
qualifications of the Christian temper," which may 
render it peculiarly acceptable to thee, and may prove 
ornamental to my profession in the world. Renew, 
"I beseech thee, a right spirit within me;" Psal. li. 
10, make me an Israelite indeed, in whom there is 
no allowed guile! John i. 47. And while I feast 
on " Christ, as my passover sacrificed for me, may I 


keep the feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity 
and truth." 1 Cor. v. 7, 8. Make me, I beseech thee, 
thou Almighty and unchangeable God, " steadfast 
and immovable, always abounding in thy work, as 
knowing my labour in the Lord will not be" finally 
" in vain." 1 Cor. xv. 58. May my heart be tender, 
2 Kings xxii. 19, easily impressed with thy word and 
providences, touched with an affectionate concern for 
thy glory, and sensible of every impulse of thy Spi- 
rit. May I be " zealous for my God," Num. xxv. 
13, with a "zeal according to knowledge, Rom. x. 2, 
and charity, 1 Cor. xvi. 14; and teach me in thy ser- 
vice, to join the wisdom of the serpent," Matt. x. 16, 
with the boldness of the lion, and " the innocence of 
the dove !" Thus render me, by thy grace, a shining 
image of my dear Redeemer; and at length bring me 
to wear the bright resemblance of his holiness and 
his glory in that world where he dwells ; that I may 
ascribe everlasting honours to him, and to thee, 
thou Father of mercies, whose invaluable gift he is, 
and to thine Holy Spirit, through whose gracious in- 
fluences I would humbly hope I may call thee my 
Father, and Jesus my Saviour. Amen. 



Forward resolutions may prove ineffectual, J . Yet religion is not 
to be given up in despair, but divine grace sought, 2. A general 
view of its reality and necessity, from reason, 3, and Scripture, 4. 
The Spirit to be sought as the Spirit of Christ, 5 ; and in that view, 
the great strength of the soul, 6. The encouragement there is to 
hope for the communication of it, 7. A concluding exhortation 
to pray for it, 8. And an humble address to God pursuant to that 

1. I have now laid before you a plan of that temper 
and character which the gospel requires, and which, 


if you are a true Christian, you will desire and 
pursue. Surely there is in the very description of 
it, something which must powerfully strike every 
mind, which has any taste for what is truly beau- 
tiful and excellent. And I question not, but you, 
my dear reader, will feel some impression of it upon 
your heart. You will immediately form some lively 
purpose of endeavouring after it ; and perhaps you 
may imagine you shall certainly and quickly attain 
to it. You see how reasonable it is, and what desi- 
rable consequences necessarily attend it, and the as- 
pect which it bears on your present enjoyment, and 
your future happiness; and therefore are determined 
you will act accordingly. But give me leave seri- 
ously to remind you how many there have been 
(would to God that several such instances had not 
happened within the compass of my personal obser- 
vation!) "whose goodness hath been like a morning 
cloud, and the early dew, which soon passeth away," 
Hos. vi. 4. There is not room, indeed, absolutely 
to apply the words of Joshua, taken in the most 
rigorous sense, when he said to Israel, (that he might 
humble their too hasty and sanguine resolutions,) 
"Ye cannot serve the Lord," Josh. xxiv. 19; but I 
will venture to say, you cannot easily do it. Alas! 
you know not the difficulties you have to break 
through; you know not the temptations which Satan 
will throw in your way; you know not how impor- 
tunate your vain and sinful companions will be to 
draw you back into the snare you may attempt to 
break; and above all, you know not the subtle arti- 
fices which your own corruptions will practise upon 
you, in order to recover their dominion over you. 
You think the views you now have of things will be 
lasting, because the principles and objects to which 
they refer are so; but perhaps to-morrow may unde- 
ceive you, or rather deceive you anew. To-morrow 
may present some trifle in a new dress, which shall 
amuse you into a forgetfulness of all this, nay, per- 
haps, before you lie down on your bed, the impres- 
sions you now feel may wear off. The corrupt de- 


sires of your own heart, now perhaps a little charmed 
down, and lying as if they were dead, may spring up 
again with new violence, as if they had slept only 
to recruit their vigour; and if you are not supported 
by a better strength than your own, this struggle for 
liberty will only make your future claims the heavier, 
the more shameful, and the more fatal. 

2. What, then, is to be done? Is the convinced sin- 
ner to he down in despair, and say, " I am a helpless 
captive, and by exerting myself with violence may 
break my limbs sooner than my bonds, and increase 
the evil I would remove?" God forbid! You can- 
not, I am persuaded, be so little acquainted with 
Christianity as not to know, that the doctrine of 
divine assistance bears a very considerable part in 
it. You have often, I doubt not, read of " the law 
of the Spirit of life in Christ, as making us free from 
the law of sin and death," Rom. viii. 2; and have 
been told that " through the Spirit we mortify the 
deeds of the body," Rom. viii. 13; you have read of 
" doing all things through Christ who strengtheneth 
us," Phil. iv. 13; whose "grace is sufficient for us, 
and whose strength is made perfect in weakness," 
2 Cor. xii. 9; permit me, therefore, now to call your 
attention to this, as a truth of the clearest evidence, 
and of the utmost importance. 

3. Reason, indeed, as well as the whole tenor of 
Scripture, agrees with this. The whole created world 
has a necessary dependence on God : from him even 
the knowledge of natural things is derived, Psal. 
xciv. 10; and skill in them is to be ascribed to him, 
Exod. xxxi. 3. 6. Much more loudly does so great 
and so excellent a work, as the new-forming the 
human mind, bespeak its divine Author. When you 
consider how various the branches of the Christian 
temper are, and how contrary many of them also are 
to that temper which has prevailed in your heart, 
and governed your life in time past, you must really 
see divine influences as necessary to produce and 
nourish them, as the influences of the sun and rain 
are to call up the variety of plants and flowers, and 


grain, and fruits, by which the earth is adorned, and 
our life supported. You will be yet more sensible 
of this, if you reflect on the violent opposition which 
this happy work must expect to meet with, which 
if you have not already experienced, it must be 
because you have but very lately begun to think of 

4. Accordingly, if you give yourself leave to con- 
sult Scripture on this head, (and if you would live 
like a Christian, you must be consulting it every day, 
and forming your notions and actions by it,) you will 
see that the whole tenor of it teaches that dependence 
upon God which I am now recommending. You 
will particularly see, that the production of religion 
in the soul is matter of divine promise ; that when it 
has been effected, Scripture ascribes it to a divine 
agency, and that the increase of grace and piety in 
the heart of those who are truly regenerate, is also 
spoken of as the work of God, who begins and carries 
it on until the day of Jesus Christ, Phil. i. 6. 

5. In consequence of all these views, lay it down 
to yourself as a most certain principle, that no attempt 
in religion is to be made in your own strength. If 
you forget this, and God purposes finally to save you, 
he will humble you by repeated disappointments, till 
he teach you better. You will be ashamed of one 
scheme and effort, and of another, till you settle upon 
the true basis. He will also probably show you, not 
only in the general that your strength is to be derived 
from heaven; but particularly, that it is the office of 
the blessed Spirit to purify the heart, and to invigo- 
rate holy resolutions; and also, that in all these ope- 
rations he is to be considered as the Spirit of Christ, 
working under his directions, and as a vital commu- 
nication from him, under the character of the great 
head of the church, the grand Treasurer and Dispen- 
ser of these holy and beneficial influences. On which 
account it is called the " supply of the Spirit of Jesus 
Christ," Phil. i. 19, who is " exalted at the right hand 
of the Father, to give repentance and remission of 
sins," Acts v. 31, in "whose grace alone we can be 


strong," 2 Tim. ii. 1, "and of whose fulness we 
receive, even grace for grace," John i. 16. 

6. Resolve, therefore, strenuously for the service 
of God, and for the care of your soul; but resolve 
modestly and humbly. " Even the youths shall faint 
and be weary, and the young men utterly fall ; but 
they who wait on the Lord," are the persons who 
renew their strength, Isa. xl. 30, 31. When a soul 
is almost afraid to declare in the presence of the Lord, 
that it will not do this or that which has formerly 
offended him; when it is afraid absolutely to promise 
that it will perform this or that duty with vigour and 
constancy ; but only expresses its humble and earnest 
desire that it may by grace be enabled to avoid the 
one, or pursue the other; then, so far as my observa- 
tion or experience has reached, it is in the best way 
to learn the happy art of conquering temptations, and 
of discharging duty. 

7. On the other hand, let not your dependence 
upon this Spirit, and your sense of your own weak- 
ness and insufficiency for any thing spiritually good 
without his continued aid, discourage you from de- 
voting yourself to God, and engaging in a religious 
life, considering what abundant reason you have to 
hope that these gracious influences will be communi- 
cated to you. — The light of nature, at the same time 
that it teaches the need we have of help from God in 
a virtuous course, may lead us to conclude, that so 
benevolent a Being, who bestows on the most un- 
worthy and careless part of mankind so many bless- 
ings will take a peculiar pleasure in communicating 
to such as humbly ask them, those gracious assist- 
ances which may form their deathless souls into his 
own resemblance, and fit them for that happiness to 
which their rational nature is suited, and for which 
it was in its first constitution intended. — The word 
of God will much more abundantly confirm such a 
hope. You there hear divine wisdom crying, even 
to those who had trifled with her instructions, " Turn 
ye at my reproof, and I will pour out my spirit upon, 
you," Prov. i. 23. You hear the Apostle saying, 


" Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we 
may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every 
time of need," Heb. iv. 16. Yea, you there hear our 
Lord himself urging, in this sweet and convincing 
manner, " if ye, being evil, know how to give good 
gifts unto your children, how much more shall your 
heavenly Father give his holy Spirit unto them that 
ask him?" Luke xi. 13. This gift and promise of 
the Spirit was given unto Christ, when he ascended 
up on high, in trust for all his true disciples. God 
hath "shed it abroad abundantly upon us in him," 
Tit. iii. 6. And I may add, that the very desire you 
feel after the further communication of the Spirit is 
the result of the first fruits of it already given : so that 
you may with peculiar propriety interpret it as a spe- 
cial call, " to open your mouth wide that he may fill 
it," Psal. Ixxxi. 10. You thirst, and therefore you 
may cheerfully plead, that Jesus hath invited you to 
come unto him and drink; with a promise, not only 
that " you shall drink if ye come unto him," but also 
that " out of your belly shall flow," as it were, " ri- 
vers of living water," John vii. 37, 38, for the edifi- 
cation and refreshment of others. 

8. Go forth, therefore, with humble cheerfulness, 
to the prosecution of all the duties of the Christian 
life. Go, and prosper, " in the strength of the Lord, 
making mention of his righteousness, and of his only," 
Psal. lxxi. 16. — And, as a token of further communi- 
cations, may your heart be quickened to the most 
earnest desires after the blessings I have now been 
recommending to your pursuit ! May you be stirred 
up to pour out your soul before God in such holy 
breathings as these; and may they be your daily 
language in his gracious presence. 


Blessed God ! I sincerely acknowledge before thee 
mine own weakness and insufficiency for any thing 



that is spiritually good. I have experienced it a thou- 
sand times ; and yet my foolish heart would again 
trust itself, Prov. xxviii. 26, and form resolutions in 
its own strength. But let this be the first fruits of 
thy gracious influence upon it, to bring it to an hum- 
ble distrust of itself, and to a repose on thee. 

Abundantly do I rejoice, Lord, in the kind as- 
surances which thou givest me of thy readiness to 
bestow liberally and richly so great a benefit. I do, 
therefore, according to thy condescending invitation, 
" come with boldness to the throne of grace, that I 
may find grace to help in every time of need," Heb. 
iv. 16. I mean not, Lord God, to turn thy grace 
into wantonness or perverseness, Jude ver. 4, or to 
make my weakness an excuse for my negligence and 
sloth. I confess thou hast already given me more 
strength than I have used; and I charge it upon my- 
self, and not on thee, that I have not long since re- 
ceived still more abundant supplies. I desire for the 
future to be found diligent in the use of all appointed 
means; in the neglect of which, I well know, that 
petitions like these would be a profane mockery, and 
might much more probably provoke thee to take 
away what I have, than prevail upon thee to impart 
more: but firmly resolving to exert myself to the 
utmost, I earnestly entreat the communications of 
thy grace, that I may be enabled to fulfil that reso- 

" Be surety, Lord, unto thy servant for good," 
Psal. cxix. 122. Be pleased to shed abroad thy sancti- 
fying influences on my soul, to form me for every 
duty thou requirest. Implant, I beseech thee, every 
grace and virtue deep in mine heart; and maintain 
the happy temper in the midst of those assaults, from 
within and from without, to which I am continually 
liable, while I am still in this world, and carry about 
with me so many infirmities. Fill my breast, I be- 
seech thee, with good affections towards thee, my 
God, and towards my fellow-creatures. Remind me 
always of thy presence; and may I remember, that 
every secret sentiment of my soul is open to thee. 


May I, therefore, guard against the first risings of 
sin, and the first approaches to it: and that Satan 
may not find room for his evil suggestions, I earnest- 
ly beg that thou, Lord, wouldst fill my heart with thine 
Holy Spirit, and take up thy residence there. " Dwell 
in me, and walk with me," 2 Cor. vi. 16, "and let 
my body be the temple of the Holy Ghost," 1 Cor. 
vi. 19. 

May I be so "joined to Christ Jesus my Lord, as 
"to be one spirit with him," 1 Cor. vi. 17, and feel 
his invigorating influences continually bearing me 
on, superior to every temptation, and to every cor- 
ruption; that while the "youths shall faint and be 
weary, and the young men utterly fall, I may so wait 
upon the Lord as to renew my strength," Isa. xl. 30, 
31, and may go on from one degree of faith and 
love, and zeal, and holiness, to another, till I appear 
perfect before thee in Zion," Psal. lxxxiv. 7, to drink 
in immortal vigour and joy from thee, as the ever- 
lasting fountain of both, through Jesus Christ, my 
Lord, in whom I have righteousness and strength," 
Isa. xlv. 24, and to whom I desire ever to ascribe 
the praise of all my improvements in both. Amen. 




Christ has instructed his disciples to expect opposition and difficul- 
ties in the way to heaven, 1. Therefore, (I.) A more particular 
view of them is taken, as arising (1.) From the remainders of in- 
dwelling sin, 2. (2 ) From the world, and especially from former 
sinful companions, 3. (3 ) from the temptations and suggestions 
of Satan, 4. (II.) The Christian is animated and encouraged by 
various considerations to oppose them ; particularly, by — the pre- 
sence of God, — the aids of Christ, — the example of others, who 
.though feeble, have conquered, — and the crown of glory to be ex- 
. pected, 5, 6. Therefore, though apostasy would be infinitely fatal, 
the Christian may press on cheerfully, 7. Accordingly the soul, 
alarmed by these views, is represented as committing itself to 
God, in the prayer which concludes the chapter. 

1. With the utmost propriety has our divine Master 
required us to " strive to enter in at the strait gate," 
Luke xiii. 24, thereby (as it seems) intimating, not 
only that the passage is narrow, but that it is beset 
with enemies; beset on the right hand and on the 
left with enemies cunning and formidable. And be 
assured, reader, that whatever your circumstances 
in life are, you must meet and encounter them. It 
will, therefore, be your prudence to survey them at- 
tentively in your own reflections, that you may see 
what you are to expect; and may consider in what 
armour it is necessary you should be clothed, and 
with what weapons you must be furnished to manage 
the combat. You have often heard them marshalled 
as it were, under three great leaders, the flesh, the 
world, and the devil ; and according to this distribu- 
tion, I would call you to consider the forces of each, 
as setting themselves in array against you. that 
you may be excited to " take to yourself the whole 
armour of God, and to quit yourself like a man," 1 
Cor. xvi. 13, and a Christian! 

2. Let your conscience answer whether you do not 


carry about with you a corrupt and a degenerate na- 
ture. You will, I doubt not, feel its effects. You 
will feel, in the language of the apostle, (who speaks 
of it as the case of Christians themselves,) " the flesh 
lusting against the spirit, so that you will not be able," 
in all instances, " to do the things that you would," 
Gal. v. 17. You brought irregular propensities into 
the world along with you ; and you have so often 
indulged those sinful inclinations that you have great- 
ly increased their strength, and you will find, in con- 
sequence of it, that these habits cannot be broken 
through without great difficulty. You will, no doubt, 
often recollect the strong figures in which the prophet 
describes a case like yours; and you will own that it 
is justly represented by that " of an Ethiopian chang- 
ing his skin, and the leopard his spots," Jer. xiii. 23. 
It is indeed possible that at first you may find such 
an edge and eagerness upon your own spirits, as may 
lead you to imagine, that all opposition will imme- 
diately fall before you; but, alas! I fear, that in a 
little time these enemies, which seemed to be slain at 
your feet, will revive and recover their weapons ; and 
renew the assault in one form or another. And per- 
haps your most painful combats may be with such 
as you had thought most easy to be vanquished; and 
your greatest danger may arise from some of those 
enemies from whom you apprehended the least; par- 
ticularly from pride, and from indolence of spirit; 
from a secret alienation of heart from God, and from 
an indisposition for conversing with him, through an 
immoderate attachment to things seen and temporal, 
which may be oftentimes exceeding dangerous to 
your salvation, though perhaps they be not absolute- 
ly and universally prohibited. In a thousand of these 
instances you must learn to deny yourself, or you 
cannot be Christ's disciple, Matt. xvi. 24. 

3. You must also lay your account to find great 
difficulties from the world; from its manners, cus- 
toms, and examples. The things of the world will 
hinder you one way, and the men of the world an- 
other. Perhaps you may meet with much less assist- 


ance in religion than you are now ready to expect 
from good men. The present generation of them is 
generally so cautious to avoid every thing that looks 
like ostentation, and there seems something so insup- 
portably dreadful in the charge of enthusiasm, that you 
will find most of your Christian brethren studying to 
conceal their virtue and their piety much more than 
others study to conceal their vices and their profane- 
ness. But while, unless your situation be singularly 
happy, you meet with very little aid one way, you will, 
no doubt, find great opposition another. The enemies 
of religion will be bold and active in their assaults, 
while many of its friends seem unconcerned: and 
one sinner will probably exert himself more to cor- 
rupt you than ten Christians to secure and save you. 
They who have once been your companions in sin 
will try a thousand artful methods to allure you back 
again to their forsaken society; some of them per- 
haps with an appearance of tender fondness; and 
many more by the almost irresistible art of banter 
and ridicule; that boasted test of right and wrong, 
as it has been wantonly called, will be tried upon 
you, perhaps without any regard to decency, or even 
to common humanity. You will be derided and in- 
sulted by those whose esteem and affection you na- 
turally desire: and may find much more propriety 
than you imagine in the expression of the Apostle, 
" the trial of cruel mockings," Heb. xi. 36, which 
some fear more than either sword or flames. This 
persecution of the tongue you must expect to go 
through, and perhaps you may be branded as a luna- 
tic, for no other cause than that you now begin to 
exercise your reason to purpose, and will not join 
with those that are destroying their own souls in their 
wild career of folly and madness. 

4. And it is not at all improbable, that in the mean 
time, Satan may be doing his utmost to discourage 
and distress you. He will, no doubt, raise in your 
imagination the most tempting idea of the gratifica- 
tions, the indulgences, and the companions,, you 
are obliged to forsake; and give you the most dis- 


couraging and terrifying view of the difficulties, se- 
verities, and dangers, which are (as he will persuade 
you) inseparable from religion. He will not fail to 
represent God himself, the fountain of goodness and 
happiness, as a hard master, whom it is impossible 
to please. He will perhaps fill you with the most 
distressing fears, and with cruel and insolent malice 
glory over you as his slave, when he knows you are 
the Lord's freeman. At one time he will study, by 
his vile suggestions, to interrupt you in your duties, 
as if they gave him an additional power over you: at 
another time he will endeavour to weary you of your 
devotion, by influencing you to prolong it to an im- 
moderate and tedious length, lest his power should 
be exerted upon you when it ceases. In short, this 
practised deceiver has artifices, which it would re- 
quire whole volumes to display, with particular cau- 
tions against each. And he will follow you with 
malicious arts and pursuits to the very end of your 
pilgrimage ; and will leave no method unattempted 
which may be likely to weaken your hands, and to 
sadden your heart; that if, through the gracious in- 
terposition of God, he cannot prevent your final hap- 
piness, he may at least impair your peace and your 
usefulness as you are passing to it. 

5. This is what the people of God feel; and what 
you will feel in some degree or other, if you have 
your lot and your portion among them. But, after 
all, be not discouraged: Christ is "the Captain of 
your salvation," Heb. ii. 10. It is delightful to con- 
sider him under this view. When we take a survey 
of these hosts of enemies, we may lift up our head 
amidst them all, and say, " More and greater is he 
that is with us, than all those that are against us," 
2 Kings vi. 16. Trust in the Lord, "and you will 
be like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but 
abideth for ever," PsaL cxxv. 1. When your ene- 
mies press upon you, remember you are to " fight 
in the presence of God," Zech. x. 5. Endeavour 
therefore to act a gallant and resolute part: endea- 
vour to " resist them steadfastly in the faith," 1 Pet. 


v. 9. Remember, " he can give power to the faint, 
and increase strength to them that have no might," 
Isa. xl. 29. He has done it in ten thousand instances 
already; and he will do it in ten thousand more. 
How many striplings have conquered their gigantic 
foes in all their most formidable armour, when they 
have gone forth against them, though but, as it were, 
" with a staff and a sling, in the name of the Lord 
God of Israel!" 1 Sam. xvii. 40, 45. How many 
women and children have trodden down the force of 
the enemy, and " out of weakness have been made 
strong!" Heb. xi. 34. 

6. Amidst all the opposition of earth and hell, look 
upward, and look forward, and you will feel your 
heart animated by the view. Your General is near : 
he is near to aid you; he is near to reward you. 
When you feel the temptation press the hardest, 
think of him who endured even the cross itself for 
your rescue. View the fortitude of your divine 
Leader, and endeavour to march on in his steps. 
Hearken to his voice, for he proclaims it aloud, " Be- 
hold I come quickly, and my reward is with me," 
Rev. xxii. 12. Be thou faithful unto death, " and I 
will give thee a crown of life," Rev. ii. 10. And, 
how bright will it shine ! and how long will its lustre 
last, when the gems that adorn the crowns of mon- 
archs, and pass (instructive thought!) from one royal 
hand to another through succeeding centuries, are 
melted down in the last flame, it is " a crown of glory 
which fadeth not away," 1 Pet. v. 4. 

7. It is indeed true, that " such as turn aside to 
crooked paths will be led forth with the workers of 
iniquity," Psal. cxxv. 5, to that terrible execution 
which the divine justice is preparing for them; and 
that it would have been " better for them not to have 
known the way of righteousness, than after having 
known it, to turn aside from the holy commandment," 
2 Pet. ii. 21. But I would, by divine grace, " hope 
better things of you," Heb. vi. 9. And I make it my 
hearty prayer for you, my reader, that you may be 
" kept by the mighty power of God, kept as in a gar- 


rison, on all sides, fortified in the securest manner, 
* through faith unto salvation/' 1 Pet. ii. 5. 


Blessed God, it is to thine almighty power that I 
flee. Behold me surrounded with difficulties and 
dangers, and stretch out thine omnipotent arm to 
save me ; " thou that savest by thy right hand them 
that put their trust in thee, from those that rise up 
against them," Psal. xvii. 7. This day do I solemnly 
put myself under thy protection ; exert thy power in 
my favour, and permit me to " make the shadow of 
thy wings my refuge," Psal. Ivii. 1. Let thy grace 
be sufficient for me, and thy strength " be made per- 
fect in my weakness," 2 Cor. xii. 9. I dare not say, 
" I will never forsake thee; I will never deny thee," 
Mark xiv. 31 ; but I hope I can truly say, Lord, I 
would not do it, and that, according to my present 
apprehension and purpose, death would appear to 
me much less terrible than in any wilful and delibe- 
rate instance to offend thee. root out those cor- 
ruptions from my heart, which in an hour of pressing 
temptation, might incline me to view things in a dif- 
ferent light, and so might betray me into the hand 
of the enemy. Strengthen my faith, Lord, and 
encourage my hope. Inspire me with an heroic 
resolution in opposing every thing that lies in my 
way to heaven ; and let me (i set my face like a 
flint," Isa. 1. 7, against all the assaults of earth and 
hell. " If sinners entice me," let me "not consent," 
Prov. i. 10; if they insult me, let me not regard it; 
if they threaten me, let me not fear. Rather may a 
holy and ardent, yet prudent and well governed zeal 
take occasion, from that malignity of heart which 
they discover, to attempt their conviction and refor- 
mation. At least, let me never be ashamed to plead 
thy cause against the most profane deriders of reli- 
gion. Make me to hear joy and gladness in my soul; 


and I will endeavour to " teach transgressors thy 
ways, that sinners may be converted unto thee," 
Psal. li. 8. 13. Yea, Lord, while my fears continue, 
though I should apprehend myself condemned, I am 
condemned so righteously for my own folly, that I 
would be thine advocate, though against myself. 

Keep me, Lord, now, and all times. Never let 
me think, whatever age or station I attain, that I am 
strong enough to maintain the combat without thee ; 
nor let me imagine myself, even in this infancy of 
religion in my soul, so weak, that thou canst not sup- 
port me. Wherever thou leadest me, there let me 
follow; and whatever station thou appointest me, 
there let me labour; there let me maintain the holy 
war against all the enemies of my salvation, and 
rather fall into it than basely abandon it. 

And thou, glorious Redeemer, the " Captain of 
my salvation," the great " author and finisher of my 
faith," Heb. xii. 2, when I am in danger of denying 
thee as Peter did, look upon me with that mixture 
of majesty and tenderness, Luke xxii. 61, which may 
either secure me from falling, or may speedily reco- 
ver me to God and my duty again. And teach me 
to take occasion, even from my miscarriages, to 
humble myself more deeply for all that has been 
amiss, and to redouble my future diligence and cau- 
tion. Amen. 




The advantages of such a surrender are briefly suggested, 1. Ad- 
vices for the manner of doing it ; that it be deliberate, cheerful, 
entire, and perpetual, 2 — 4 ; and that it be expressed with some 
affecting solemnity, 5. A written instrument to be signed and 
declared before God at some season of extraordinary devotion, 
proposed, 6, 7. The chapter concludes with a specimen of such 
an instrument, together with an abstract of it, to be used with 
proper and requisite alterations. 

1. As I would hope, that notwithstanding all the 
forms of opposition which do or may arise, yet in 
consideration of those noble supports and motives 
which have been mentioned in the two preceding 
chapters, you are heartily determined for the service 
of God, I would now urge you to make a solemn 
surrender of yourself unto it. Do not only form such 
a purpose in your heart, but expressly declare it in 
the divine presence. Such solemnity in the manner 
of doing it is certainly very reasonable in the nature 
of things; and surely it is highly expedient, for bind- 
ing to the Lord such a treacherous heart, as we know 
our own to be. It will be pleasant to reflect upon 
it, as done at such and such a time, with such and 
such circumstances of place and method, which may 
serve to strike the memory and the conscience. The 
sense of the vows of God which are upon you will 
strengthen you in an hour of temptation; and the 
recollection may also encourage your humble bold- 
ness and freedom in applying to him, under the 
character and relation of " your covenant God and 
Father," as future exigences may require. 

2. Do it, therefore, but do it deliberately. Con- 
sider what it is you are to do : and consider how rea- 
sonable it is that it should be done, and done cor- 
dially and cheerfully ; u and not by constraint, but 
willingly," 1 Pet. v. 2; for, in this sense, and in every 


other, " God loves a cheerful giver/' 2 Cor. ix. 7. 
Now, surely there is nothing we should do with 
greater cheerfulness, or more cordial consent, than 
making such a surrender of ourselves to the Lord; 
to the God who created us, who brought us into this 
pleasant and well furnished world, who supported 
us in our tender infancy, who guarded us in the 
thoughtless days of childhood and youth, who has 
hitherto continually helped, sustained, and preserved 
us. Nothing can be more reasonable than that we 
should acknowledge him as our rightful Owner and 
our sovereign Ruler; than that we should devote 
ourselves to him as our most gracious Benefactor, 
and seek him as our supreme felicity. Nothing can 
be more apparently equitable than that we, the pro- 
duct of his power, and the price of his Son's blood, 
should be his, and his for ever. If you see the 
matter in its just view, it will be the grief of your 
soul that you have ever alienated yourself from the 
blessed God and his service; so far will you be from 
wishing to continue in that state of alienation another 
year, or another day. You will rejoice to bring back 
to him his revolted creature; and as you have in 
times past " yielded your members, as instruments 
of unrighteousness unto sin," you will delight to 
yield yourself " unto God, as alive from the dead, 
and to employ your members as instruments of right- 
eousness unto God," Rom. vi. 13. 

3. The surrender will also be as entire as it is 
cheerful and immediate. All you are, and all you 
have, and all you can do, your time, your posses- 
sions, your influence over others, will be devoted to 
him, that for the future it may be employed entirely 
for him, and to his glory. You will desire to keep 
back nothing from him; but will seriously judge that 
you are then in the truest and noblest sense your 
own, when you are most entirely his. You are also, 
on this great occasion, to resign all that you have to 
the disposal of his wise and gracious Providence, not 
only owning his power, but consenting to his un- 
doubted right, to do what he pleases with you, and 


all that he has given you; and declaring a hearty 
approbation of all that he has done, and of all that 
he may further do. 

4. Once more, let me remind you that this surren- 
der must be perpetual. You must give yourself up 
to God in such a manner, as never more to pretend 
to be your own: for the rights of God are, like his 
nature, eternal and immutable: and with regard to 
his rational creatures, are " the same yesterday, to- 
day, and for ever." 

5. I would further advise and urge, that this dedi- 
cation may be made with all possible solemnity. Do 
it in express words. And perhaps it may be in many 
cases most expedient, as many pious divines have 
recommended, to do it in writing. Set your hand 
and seal to it, That on such a day of such a month 
and year, and at such a place, on full consideration 
and serious reflection, you came to this happy reso- 
lution, "that whatever others might do, you would 
serve the Lord," Josh. xxiv. 13. 

6. Such an instrument you may, if you please, 
draw up for yourself; or if you rather choose to have 
it drawn up to your hand, you may find something 
of this nature below, in which you may easily make 
such alterations as shall suit your circumstances, 
where there is any thing peculiar in them. But 
whatever you use, weigh it well, meditate attentively 
upon it, that you may " not be rash with your mouth 
to utter any thing before God," Eccl. v. 2. And 
when you determine to execute this instrument, let 
the transaction be attended with some more than 
ordinary religious retirement. Make it, if you con- 
veniently can, a day of secret fasting and prayer; 
and when your heart is prepared with a becoming 
awe of the divine majesty, with an humble confi- 
dence in his goodness, and an earnest desire of his 
favour, then present yourself on your knees before 
God, and read it over deliberately and solemnly; and 
when you have signed it, lay it by in some secure 
place, where you may review it whenever you 
please; and make it a rule with yourself to review 



it, if possible, at certain seasons of the year, that you 
may keep the remembrance of it. 

7. At least, take this course till you see your way 
clear to the table of the Lord, where you are to 
renew the same covenant, and to seal it with more 
affecting solemnities. And God grant that you may 
be enabled to keep it, and, in the whole of your con- 
versation, to walk according to it. May it be an 
anchor to your soul in every temptation, and a cor- 
dial to it in every affliction. May the recollection 
of it embolden your addresses to the throne of grace 
now, and give additional strength to your departing 
spirit, in a consciousness that it is ascending to your 
covenant God and Father, and to that gracious Re- 
deemer, whose power and faithfulness will securely 
*j keep what you commit to him against that day," 
2 Tim. i. 12. 


" Eternal and unchangeable Jehovah, thou great 
Creator of heaven, and earth, and adorable Lord of 
angels and men ! I desire with the deepest humilia- 
tion and abasement of soul, to fall down at this time 
in thine awful presence; and earnestly pray, that 
thou wilt penetrate my very heart with a suitable 
sense of thine unutterable and inconceivable glories? 

" Trembling may justly take hold upon me," Job 
xxi. 6, when I, a sinful worm, presume to lift up my 
head to thee, presume to appear in thy majestic pre- 
sence on such an occasion as this. " Who am I, 
Lord God, or what is my house?" 2 Sam. vii. 18. 
what is my nature or descent, my character and de- 
sert, that I should speak of this, and desire that I may 
be one party in a Covenant, where thou, " the King 
of kings, and Lord of lords," art the other? 1 blush 
and am confounded, even to mention it before thee. 
But, Lord, great as is thy Majesty, so also is thy 
mercy. If thou wilt hold converse with any of thy 
creatures, thy superlatively exalted nature must stoop, 
must stoop infinitely low. And I know, that in and 


through Jesus, the Son of thy love, thou condescend- 
est to visit sinful mortals, and to allow their approach 
to thee, and their covenant intercourse with thee; 
nay, I know that the scheme and plan is thine own; 
and that thou hast graciously sent to propose it to us; 
as none untaught by thee would have been able to 
form it, or inclined to embrace it even when actually 

" To thee, therefore, do I now come, invited by the 
name of thy Son, and trusting in his righteousness 
and grace. Laying myself at thy feet " with shame 
and confusion of face, and smiting upon my breast," 
I say, with the humble publican, " God be merciful 
to me a sinner," Luke xviii. 13. I acknowledge, 
Lord, that I have been a great transgressor. " My 
sins have reached unto heaven, Rev. xviii. 5, and 
mine iniquities are lifted up unto the skies," Jer. li. 
9. The irregular propensities of my corrupted and 
degenerate nature have, in ten thousand aggravated 
instances, " wrought to bring forth fruit unto death," 
Rom. vii. 5. And if thou shouldst be strict to mark 
mine offences, I must be silent under a load of guilt, 
and immediately sink into destruction. But thou hast 
graciously called me to return unto thee, though I 
have been a wandering sheep, a prodigal son, a 
" backsliding child," Jer. iii. 22. Behold, therefore, 
Lord, I come unto thee. I come, convinced not only 
of my sin, but of my folly. I come from my very 
heart ashamed of myself, and with an acknowledg- 
ment in the sincerity and humility of my soul, that 
" I have played the fool, and have erred exceeding- 
ly," 1 Sam. xxvi. 21. I am confounded myself at 
the remembrance of these things: but be thou " mer- 
ciful to my unrighteousness, and do not remember 
against me my sins and my transgressions," Heb. 
viii. 12. Permit me, Lord, to bring back unto thee 
those powers and faculties which I have ungratefully 
and sacrilegiously alienated from thy service; and re- 
ceive, I beseech thee, thy poor revolted creature, who 
is now convinced of thy right to him, and desires 
nothing in the whole world so much as to be thine. 


" Blessed God, it is with the utmost solemnity that 
I make this surrender of myself unto thee. " Hear, 

heavens, and give ear, earth; I avouch the Lord 
this day to be my God," Deut. xxvi. 17, and I avouch 
and declare myself this day to be one of his cove- 
nant-children and people. Hear, thou God of 
heaven, and record it in " the book of thy remem- 
brance," Mai. iii. 16, that henceforth I am thine, en- 
tirely thine. I would not merely consecrate unto 
thee some of my powers, or some of my possessions; 
or give thee a certain proportion of my services, or 
all I am capable of for a limited time ; but I would 
be wholly thine, and thine for ever. From this day 
do I solemnly renounce all the former lords, which 
have had dominion over me, Isa. xxvi. 13; every 
sin, and every lust; and bid, in thy name, an eternal 
defiance to the powers of hell, which have most un- 
justly usurped the empire over my soul, and to all 
the corruptions which their fatal temptations have in- 
troduced into it. The whole frame of my nature, all 
the faculties of my mind, and all the members of my 
body, would I present before thee this day, " as a 
living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which 

1 know to be my most reasonable service," Rom. xii. 
1. To thee I consecrate all my worldly possessions; 
in thy service I desire to spend all the remainder of 
my time upon earth, and beg thou wouldst instruct 
and influence me, so that, whether my abode here 
be longer or shorter, every year and month, every 
day and hour, may be used in such a manner, as shall 
most effectually promote thine honour and subserve 
the schemes of thy wise and gracious providence. 
And I earnestly pray, that whatever influence thou 
givest me over others, in any of the superior relations 
of life in which I may stand, or in consequence of 
any peculiar regard which may be paid to me, thou 
wouldst give me strength and courage to exert my- 
self to the utmost for thy glory; resolving, not only 
that I will myself do it, but that all others, so far as 
I can rationally and properly influence them, " shall 
serve the Lord," Josh. xxiv. 15. In this course, 


blessed God, would I steadily persevere to the very- 
end of my life; earnestly praying that every future 
day of it may supply the deficiencies, and correct the 
irregularities of the former; and that I may, by divine 
grace, be enabled, not only to hold on in that happy 
way, but daily to grow more active in it ! 

" Nor do I only consecrate all that I am, and have, 
to thy service; but I also most humbly resign and 
submit to thine holy and sovereign will, myself, and 
all that I can call mine. I leave, Lord, to thy ma- 
nagement and direction, all I possess, and all I wish; 
and set every enjoyment and every interest before 
thee, to be disposed of as thou pleasest. Continue, 
or remove, what thou hast given me; bestow or re- 
fuse what I imagine I want, as thou, Lord, shalt see 
good! And though I dare not say I will never re- 
pine, yet I hope I may venture to say that I will 
labour, not only to submit, but to acquiesce ; not only 
to bear what thou doest in thy most afflictive dispen- 
sations, but to consent to it, and to praise thee for it; 
contentedly resolving, in all that thou appointest for 
me, my will into thine, and looking on myself as no- 
thing, and on thee, God, as the great eternal All, 
whose word ought to determine every thing, and 
whose government ought to be the joy of the whole 
rational creation. 

" Use me, Lord, I beseech thee, as the instru- 
ment of thy glory, and honour me so far as, either 
by doing or suffering what thou shalt appoint, to 
bring some revenue of praise to thee, and of benefit 
to the world in which I dwell. And may it please 
thee, from this day forward, to number me among 
" thy peculiar people, that I may no more be a stran- 
ger and foreigner, but a fellow citizen with the saints, 
and of the household of God!" Eph. ii. 19. Receive, 
heavenly Father, thy returning prodigal. Wash 
me in the blood of thy dear Son ; clothe me with his 
perfect righteousness; and sanctify me throughout by 
the power of thy Spirit. Destroy, I beseech thee, 
more and more the power of sin in my heart; trans- 


form me more into thine own image, and fashion me 
to the resemblance of Jesus, whom henceforward I 
would acknowledge as my teacher and sacrifice ; my 
intercessor and my Lord. Communicate to me, I 
beseech thee, all needful influences of thy purifying, 
thy cheering, and thy comforting Spirit; and " lift up 
that light of thy countenance upon me," which will 
put the sublimest "joy and gladness into my soul!" 
Psal. iv. 6, 7. 

Dispose my affairs, God, in a manner which may 
be most subservient to thy glory, and my own truest 
happiness; and when I have done and borne thy will 
upon earth, call me from hence at what time, and in 
what manner thou pleasest : only grant, that in my 
dying moments, and in the near prospect of eternity, I 
may remember these my engagements to thee, and 
may employ my latest breath in thy service. And do 
thou, Lord, when thou seest the agonies of dissolving 
nature upon me, remember this covenant too, even 
though I should then be incapable of recollecting it. 
Look down, my heavenly Father, with a pitying 
eye upon thy languishing, thy dying child; place 
thine everlasting arms underneath me for my sup- 
port; put strength and confidence into my departing 
spirit; and receive it to the embraces of thine ever- 
lasting love. Welcome it to the abodes "of them 
that sleep in Jesus," 1 Thes. iv. 14, to wait with 
them that glorious day, when the last of thy promises 
to thy covenant-people shall be fulfilled in their 
triumphant resurrection, and in that " abundant en- 
trance," which shall be " administered to them into 
that everlasting kingdom," 2 Pet. i. 11, of which thou 
hast assured them by thy covenant, and in the hope 
of which I now lay hold of it, desiring to live and 
die as with my hand on that hope. 

And when I am thus numbered among the dead, 
and all the interests of mortality are over with me 
for ever, if this solemn memorial should chance to 
fall into the hands of any surviving friends, may it 
be the means of making serious impressions on their 
minds. May they read it, not only as my language, 


but as their own ; and learn to " fear the Lord my 
God," and with me " to put their trust under the 
shadow of his wings" for time and for eternity! 
And may they also learn to adore with me that grace 
which inclines our hearts to enter into the covenant, 
and condescends to admit us into it when so inclined ; 
ascribing with me, and with all the nations of the 
redeemed, to the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost, that glory, honour, and praise which is so 
justly due to each divine person for the part he bears 
in this illustrious work. Amen. 

N. B. For the sake of those who may think the preceding form of 
self-dedication too long to be transcribed, (as it is probable many 
will,) I have, at the desire of a much esteemed friend, added the 
following abridgment of it, which should by all means be atten- 
tively weighed in every clause before it be executed; and any 
word or phrase which may seem liable to exception, changed, that 
the whole heart may consent to it. 

Eternal and ever-blessed God ! I desire to present 
myself before thee with the deepest humiliation and 
abasement of soul; sensible how unworthy such a 
sinful worm is to appear before the holy majesty of 
heaven, " the King of kings, and Lord of lords," and 
especially on such an occasion as this, even to enter 
into a covenant transaction with thee. But the 
scheme and plan is thine own. Thine infinite con- 
descension has offered it by thy Son, and thy grace 
has inclined my heart to accept of it. 

I come, therefore, acknowledging myself to have 
been a great offender; smiting on my breast, and 
saying, with the humble publican, " God be merciful 
to me a sinner !" I come invited by the name of thy 
Son, and wholly trusting in his perfect righteousness; 
entreating that, for his sake, thou wilt be merciful to 
my unrighteousness, and wilt no more remember my 
sins. Receive, I beseech thee, thy revolted creature, 
who is now convinced of thy right to him, and desires 
nothing so much as that he may be thine. 

This day do I, with the utmost solemnity, surren- 
der myself to thee. I renounce all former lords that 
have had dominion over me; and I consecrate to 


thee all that I am, and all that I have; the faculties 
of my mind, the members of my body, my worldly 
possessions, my time, and my influence over others; 
to be all used entirely for thy glory, and resolutely 
employed in obedience to thy commands, as long as 
thou continuest me in life; with an ardent desire and 
humble resolution to continue thine through all the 
endless ages of eternity; ever holding myself in an 
attentive posture to observe the first intimations of 
thy will, and ready to spring forward, with zeal and 
joy, to the immediate execution of it. 

To thy direction also I resign myself, and all I am 
and have, to be disposed of by thee in such a man- 
ner as thou shalt in thine infinite wisdom judge most 
subservient to the purposes of thy glory. To thee I 
leave the management of all events, and say without 
reserve, " Not my will, but thine be done;" rejoic- 
ing with a loyal heart in thine unlimited government, 
as what ought to be the delight of the whole rational 

Use me, Lord, I beseech thee, as an instrument 
of thy service. Number me among thy peculiar 
people. Let me be washed in the blood of thy dear 
Son; let me be clothed with his righteousness; let me 
be sanctified by his Spirit. Transform me more and 
more into his image. Impart to me, through him, 
all needful influences of thy purifying, cheering, and 
comforting Spirit. And let my life be spent under 
those influences, and in the light of thy gracious 
countenance, as my Father and my God. And 
when the solemn hour of death comes, may I re- 
member this thy covenant, well ordered in all things 
and sure, as all my salvation and all my desire, 2 
Sam. xxiii. 5, though every other hope and enjoy- 
ment is perishing. And do thou, Lord, remem- 
ber it too. Look down with pity, my heavenly 
Father, on thy languishing, dying child. Embrace 
me in thine everlasting arms. Put strength and 
confidence into my departing spirit, and receive it to 
the abodes of them that sleep in Jesus, peacefully 
and joyfully to wait the accomplishment of thy great 


promise to all thy people, even that of a glorious re- 
surrection, and of eternal happiness in thine heavenly 
presence. And if any surviving friend should, when 
I am in the dust, meet with this memorial of my 
solemn transactions with thee, may he make the en- 
gagement his own; and do thou graciously admit 
him to partake in all the blessings of thy covenant, 
through Jesus the great Mediator of it: to whom 
with thee, Father, and the Holy Spirit, be ever- 
lasting praises ascribed, by all the millions who are 
thus saved by thee, and by all those other celestial 
spirits, in whose work and blessedness thou shalt call 
them to share. Amen. 



The reader, being already supposed to have entered into covenant 
with God, 1, is urged publicly to seal that engagement at the 
table of the Lord, 2. (1.) From a view of the ends for which that 
ordinance was instituted, 3; whence its usefulness is strongly in- 
ferred, 4; and, (2.) from the authority of Christ's appointment, 
which is solemnly pressed on the conscience, 5. Objections from 
apprehensions of unfitness, 6. Weakness of grace, &c., briefly 
answered, 7. At least, serious thoughts on this subject are abso- 
lutely insisted upon, 8. The chapter is closed with a prayer for 
one who desires to attend, yet finds himself pressed with remain- 
ing doubts. 

1. I hope this chapter will find you, by a most ex- 
press consent, become one of God's covenant-people, 
solemnly and cordially devoted to his service : and it 
is my hearty prayer, that the covenant you have 
made on earth may be ratified in heaven. But for 
your further instruction and edification, give me 
leave to remind you, that our Lord Jesus Christ has 
appointed a peculiar manner of expressing our regard 
to him, and of solemnly renewing his covenant with 
him, which, though it does not forbid any other pro- 


per way of doing it, must by no means be set aside 
or neglected for any human methods, how prudent 
and expedient soever they may appear to us. 

2. Our Lord has wisely ordained, that the advan- 
tages of society should be brought into religion; and 
as, by his command, professing Christians assemble 
together for other acts of public worship, so he has 
been pleased to institute a social ordinance, in which 
a whole assembly of them is to come to his table, 
and there to eat the same bread, and drink the same 
cup. And this they are to do as a token of their 
affectionate remembrance of his dying love, of their 
solemn surrender of themselves to God, and of their 
sincere love to one another, and to all their fellow 

3. That these are indeed the great ends of the 
Lord's Supper, I shall not now stay to argue at large. 
— You need only read what the apostle St. Paul has 
written in the tenth and eleventh chapters of his first 
Epistle to the Corinthians, to convince you fully of 
this. He there expressly tells us, that our Lord com- 
manded the bread to be eaten, and the wine to be 
drunk in remembrance of him, 1 Cor. xi. 24, 25, or 
as a commemoration or memorial of him: so that, as 
often as we attend this institution, we show forth our 
Lord's death, which we are to do even until he come 
again, ver. 26. And it is particularly asserted, That 
the cup is the new Testament in his blood, ver. 25; 
that is, it is a seal of that covenant which was rati- 
fied by his blood. Now, it is evident that in conse- 
quence of this, we are to approach it with a view to 
that covenant, desiring its blessings, and resolving by 
divine grace to comply with its demands. On the 
whole, therefore, as the apostle speaks, we have com- 
munion in the body and the blood of Christ, 1 Cor. x. 
16; and partaking of his table, and of his cup, we 
converse with Christ, and join ourselves to him as his 
people : as the heathens had, in their idolatrous rites, 
communion with their deities, and joined themselves 
to them ; and the Jews by eating their sacrifices, con- 
versed with Jehovah, and joined themselves to him. 


He further reminds them, that though many, they 
were "one bread and one body, being all partakers 
of that one bread," 1 Cor. x. 17, and being "all made 
to drink into one spirit," 1 Cor. xii. 13; that is, meet- 
ing together as if they were but one family, and join- 
ing in the commemoration of that one blood which 
was their common ransom, and of the Lord Jesus 
their common head. Now, it is evident all these 
reasonings are equally applicable to Christians in 
succeeding ages. Permit me, therefore, by the au- 
thority of our divine Master, to press upon you the 
observation of this precept. 

4. And let me also urge it, from the apparent ten- 
dency which it has to promote your truest advantage. 
You are setting out in the Christian life; and I have 
reminded you at large of the opposition you must 
expect to meet with in it. It is the love of Christ 
which must animate you to break through all. What 
then can be more desirable than to bear about with 
you a lively sense of it? and what can awaken that 
sense more than the contemplation of his death as 
there represented? Who can behold the bread bro- 
ken, and the wine poured out, and not reflect how the 
body of the blessed Jesus was even torn in pieces by 
his sufferings, and his sacred blood poured forth like 
water on the ground ? Who can think of the heart- 
rending agonies of the Son of God, as the price of 
our redemption and salvation, and not feel his soul 
melted with tenderness, and inflamed with grateful 
affection? What an exalted view doth it give us 
of the blessings of the gospel-covenant, when we 
consider it as "established in the blood of God's 
only begotten Son?" And when we make our ap- 
proach to God, as our heavenly Father, and give up 
ourselves to his service in this solemn manner, what 
an awful tendency has it to fix the conviction, that 
" we are not our own, being bought with such a 
price?" 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. What a tendency has it 
to guard us against every temptation to those sins 
which we have so solemnly renounced, and to engage 
our fidelity to him to whom we have " bound our 


souls as with an oath?" Well may " our hearts be 
knit together in mutual love," Col. ii. 2, when " we 
consider ourselves as one in Christ," Gal. iii. 28: his 
blood becomes the cement of the society, joins us in 
spirit, not only to each other, but " to all that in every 
place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, 
both theirs and ours," 1 Cor. i. 2, and we anticipate 
in pleasing hope, that blessed day, when the assem- 
bly shall be complete, and we shall all "be for ever 
with the Lord," 1 Thess. iv. 17. Well may these 
views engage us to deny ourselves, and to " take up 
our cross and follow our crucified Master," Matt, 
xvi. 24: well may they engage us to do our utmost 
by prayer, and ail other suitable endeavours, to serve 
his followers and his friends; to serve those whom he 
has purchased with his blood, and who are to be his as- 
sociates and ours in the glories of a happy immortality. 
5. It is also the express institution and command 
of our blessed Redeemer, that the members of such 
societies should be tenderly solicitous for the spiritual 
welfare of each other: and that, on the whole, his 
churches may be kept pure and holy, that they should 
" withdraw themselves from every brother that walk- 
eth disorderly;" 2 Thess. iii. 6; that they should 
" mark such as cause offences or scandals among 
them, contrary to the doctrine which they have learn- 
ed, and avoid them," Rom. xvi. 17; that if any obey 
not the word of Christ by his apostles, they should 
have no fellowship or communion with such, that 
they may be ashamed, 2 Thess. iii. 14; that they should 
not eat with such as are notoriously irregular in their 
behaviour, but, on the contrary, should put away 
from among themselves such wicked persons, 1 Cor. 
v. 11, 13. It is evident, therefore, that the institu- 
tion of such societies is greatly for the honour of 
Christianity, and for the advantage of its particular 
professors, and consequently, every consideration of 
obedience to our common Lord, and of prudent re- 
gard to our own benefit, and that of our brethren, 
will require, that those who love the Lord Jesus 
Christ in sincerity should enter into them, and assem- 


ble among them in these their most solemn and pecu- 
liar acts of communion at his table. 

6. I entreat you, therefore, and, if I may presume 
to say it, in his name, and by his authority, I charge 
it on your conscience, that this precept of our dying 
Lord go not, as it were, for nothing with you; but 
that, if you indeed love him, you keep this as well as 
the rest of his commandments. — I know you maybe 
ready to form objections. I have elsewhere debated 
many of the chief of them at large, and I hope, not 
without some good effect* The great question is that 
which relates to your being prepared for a worthy 
attendance: and, in conjunction with what hath been 
said before, I think that may be brought to a very 
short issue. Have you, so far as you know your own 
heart, been sincere in that deliberate surrender of 
yourself to God through Christ, which 1 recommend- 
ed in the former chapter? If you have, (whether it 
were with or without the particular form or manner 
of doing it there recommended,) you have certainly 
taken hold of the covenant, and therefore have a right 
to the seal of it. And there is not, and cannot be, any 
other view of the ordinance in which you can have 
any further objection to it. If you desire to remember 
Christ's death, if you desire to renew the dedication 
of yourself to God through him, if you would list 
yourself among his people, if you would love them, 
and do them good according to your ability ; and, on 
the whole, would not allow yourself in the practice 
of any one known sin, or in the omission of any one 
known duty, then I will venture confidently to say, 
not only that you will be welcome to the ordinance, 
but that it was instituted for such as you. 

7. As for other objections, a few words may suffice, 
by way of reply. The weakness of the religious 
principle in your soul, if it be really implanted there, 
is so far from being an argument against your seek- 
ing such a method to strengthen it, that it rather 
strongly enforces the necessity of doing it. — The ne- 

* See the fourth of my sermons to young persons ; viz. " The Young 
Christian invited to an early Attendance on the Lord's Table." 


gleet of this solemnity, by so many that call them- 
selves Christians, should rather engage you so much 
the more to distinguish your zeal for an institution, 
in this respect so much slighted and injured. And as 
for the fears of aggravated guilt in case of apostasy, 
do not indulge them. This may, by the divine bless- 
ing, be an effectual remedy against the evil you fear; 
and, it is certain, that after what you must already 
have known and felt before you could be brought 
into your present situation, (on the supposition I 
have now been making,) there can be no room to 
think of a retreat; no room, even for the wretched 
hope of being less miserable than the generality of 
those that have perished. Your scheme, therefore, 
must be to make your salvation as sure, and to make 
it as glorious as possible: and I know not any ap- 
pointment of our blessed Redeemer which may have 
a more comfortable aspect upon that blessed end, 
than this which I am now recommending to you. 

8. One thing I would at least insist upon, and I see 
not with what face it can be denied, I mean, that you 
should take this matter into serious consideration; 
that you shall diligently inquire, whether you have 
reason in your conscience to believe it is the will of 
God, you should now approach to the ordinance, or 
not; and that you should continue your reflections, 
your inquiries, and your prayers, till you find further 
encouragement, to come, if that encouragement be 
hitherto wanting. For of this be assured, that a state 
in which you are on the whole unfit to approach this 
ordinance is a state in which you are destitute of the 
necessary preparations for death and heaven : in 
which, therefore, if you would not allow yourself 
to slumber on the brink of destruction, you ought not 
to rest so much as one single day. 


Blessed Lord, I adore thy wise and gracious ap- 
pointments for the edification of thy church in holi- 


ness and in love. I thank thee that thou hast com- 
manded thy servants to form themselves into societies ; 
and I adore my gracious Saviour who has instituted, 
as with his dying breath, the holy solemnity of his 
supper, to be through all ages a memorial of his 
dying love, and a bond of that union which it is his 
sovereign pleasure that his people should preserve. 
I hope thou, Lord, art witness to the sincerity with 
which I desire to give myself up to thee ; and that I 
may call thee to record on my soul, that if I now 
hesitate about this particular manner of doing it, it 
is not because I would allow myself to break any of 
thy commands, or to slight any of thy favours. I 
trust, thou knowest that my present delay arises only 
from an uncertainty as to my own duty, and a fear 
of profaning holy things by an unworthy approach 
to them. Yet surely, Lord, if thou hast given me 
a reverence for thy command, a desire of communion 
with thee, and a willingness to devote myself wholly 
to thy service, I may regard it as a token for good 
that thou art disposed to receive me, and that I am 
not wholly unqualified for an ordinance which I so 
highly honour, and so earnestly desire; I therefore 
make it mine humble request unto thee, Lord, 
this day, that thou wouldst graciously be pleased to 
instruct me in my duty, and to teach me the way 
which I should take! Examine me, Lord, and 
prove me, try my reins and my heart, Psal. xxvi. 2. 
Is there any secret sin, in the love and practice of 
which I would indulge? Is there any of thy pre- 
cepts, in the habitual breach of which I would allow 
myself? I trust I can appeal to thee as a witness 
that there is not. Let me not, then, wrong mine own 
soul by a causeless and sinful absence from thy sacred 
table. But grant, Lord, I beseech thee, that thy 
word, thy providence and thy Spirit, may so concur, 
as to make my " way plain before me," Prov. xv. 19. 
Scatter my remaining doubts, if thou seest they have 
no just foundation. Fill me with a more assured 
faith, with a more ardent love; and plead thine own 
cause with my heart in such a manner as that I may 


not be able any longer to delay that approach, which, 
if I am thy servant indeed, is equally my duty and 
my privilege. In the mean time, grant that it may 
never be long out of my thoughts; but that I may 
give all diligence, if there be any remaining occasion 
of doubt, to remove it by a more affectionate concern 
to avoid whatever is displeasing to the eyes of thine 
holiness, and to practise the full extent of my duty. 
May the views of Christ crucified be so familiar to 
my mind, and may a sense of his dying love so pow- 
erfully constrain my soul, that my own growing ex- 
perience may put it out of all question, that I am one 
of those for whom he intended this feast of love. 

And even now, as joined to thy churches in spirit 
and in love, though not in so express and intimate 
a bond as I could wish, would I heartily pray that 
thy " blessing may be on all thy people;" that thou 
" wouldst feed thine heritage, and lift them up for 
ever," Psal. xxviii. 9. May every Christian society 
nourish in knowledge, in holiness, and in love ! May 
all " thy priests be clothed with salvation," that by 
their means " thy chosen people may be made joy- 
ful," Psal. cxxxii. 16. And may there be a glorious 
accession to thy churches every where, of those who 
may fly " to them as a cloud, and as doves to their 
windows," Isa. lx. 8. May thy table, Lord, be 
" furnished with guests," Matt. xxii. 10, and may all 
that " love thy salvation say, Let the Lord be mag- 
nified, who hath pleasure in the prosperity of his 
servants," Psal. xxxv. 27. And I earnestly pray, 
that all who profess to have received Christ Jesus the 
Lord may be duly careful to walk in him, Col. ii. 6, 
and that we may be all preparing for the general as- 
sembly of the first-born, and may join in that nobler 
and more immediate worship, where all these types 
and shadows shall be laid aside; where even these 
memorials shall be no longer necessary, but a living, 
present Redeemer shall be the everlasting joy of those 
who here in his absence have delighted to comme- 
morate his death. Amen. 




A letter to a pious friend on this subject introduced here, 1. A 
general plan of directions, 2. I. For the beginning of the day, 3. 
(1.) Lifting up the heart to God at our first awakening, 4. (2.) 
Setting ourselves to the secret devotions of the morning, with 
respect to which particular advices are given, 5 — 10. II. For the 
progress of the day, 11. Directions are given concerning, (1.) 
Seriousness in devotion, 12. (2.) Diligence in business, 13. (3.) 
Prudence in recreations, 14. (4.) Observation of providences, 15. 
(5.) Watchfulness against temptations, 16. (6.) Dependence on 
divine influences, 17. (7.) Government of the thoughts when 
in solitude, 18. (8.) Management of discourse in company, 19. 
III. For the conclusion of the day, 20. (1.) With the secret 
devotions of the evening, 21. Directions for self-examination at 
large, 22, 23. (2.) Lying down with a proper temper, 24. Con- 
clusion of the letter, 25 ; and of the chapter, 26. With a serious 
view of death, proper to be taken at the close of the day. 

1. I would hope that upon serious consideration, self- 
examination and prayer, the reader may by this time 
be come to a resolution to attend the table of the 
Lord, and to seal his vows there. I will now sup- 
pose that solemn transaction to be over, or some 
other deliberate act to have passed, by which he has 
given himself up to the service of God; and that his 
concern now is to inquire how he may act according 
to the vows of God which are upon him. Now, for 
his further assistance here, besides the general view 
I have already given of the Christian temper and 
character, I will propose some more particular direc- 
tions relating to maintaining that devout, spiritual 
and heavenly character, which may in the language 
of Scripture, be called " a daily walking with God; 
or, being in his fear all the day long," Prov. xxiii. 
17. And I know not how I can express the idea and 
plan which I have formed of this in a more clear and 
distinct manner than I did in a letter, which I wrote 
many years ago* to a young person of eminent piety, 

* N. B. It was in the year 1727. 


with whom I had then an intimate friendship ; and 
who, to the great grief of all that knew him, died a 
few months after he received it. Yet I hope he lived 
long enough to reduce the directions into practice, 
which I wish and pray that every reader may do, so 
far as they may properly suit his capacities and cir- 
cumstances in life, considering it as if addressed to 
himself. I say (and desire it may be observed) that 
I wish my reader may act on these directions, so far 
as they may properly suit his capacities and circum- 
stances in life; for I would be far from laying down 
the following particulars as universal rules for all, or 
for any one person in the world at all times. Let 
them be practised by those that are able, and when 
they have leisure ; and when you cannot reach them 
all, come as near the most important of them as you 
conveniently can. With this precaution, I proceed 
to the letter, which I would hope, after this previous 
care to guard against the danger of mistaking it, will 
not discourage any the weakest Christian. Let us 
humbly and cheerfully do our best, and rejoice that 
we have so gracious a Father who knows all our 
infirmities, and so compassionate a High-priest to re- 
commend to divine acceptance the feeblest efforts of 
sincere duty and love. 


Since you desire my thoughts in writing, and at 
large, on the subject of our late conversation, viz. 
" By what particular methods, in our daily conduct, 
a life of devotion and usefulness may be most hap- 
pily maintained and secured?" I set myself with 
cheerfulness to recollect and digest the hints which I 
then gave you, hoping it may be of some service to 
you in your most important interests, and may also 
fix on my own mind a deeper sense of my obligations 
to govern my own life by the rules I offer to others. 
I esteem attempts of this kind among the pleasantest 
fruits, and the surest cements of friendship ; and, as 
I hope ours will last for ever, I am persuaded a mu- 


tual care to cherish sentiments of this kind will add 
everlasting endearments to it. 

2. The directions you will expect from me on this 
occasion naturally divide themselves into three heads. 
— How we are to regard God — in the beginning — 
the progress — and the close of the day. I will open 
my heart, freely to you with regard to each, and will 
leave you to judge how far these hints may suit your 
circumstances; aiming at least to keep between the 
extremes of a superstitious strictness in trifles, and 
of an indolent remissness, which, if admitted in little 
things, may draw after it criminal neglects, and at 
length yet more criminal indulgences. 

3. In the beginning of the day, it should cer- 
tainly be our care — to lift up our hearts to God as 
soon as we awake, and while we are rising — and 
then, to set ourselves seriously and immediately to 
the secret devotions of the morning. 

4. For the first of these, it seems exceedingly na- 
tural. There are so many things that may suggest a 
great variety of pious reflections and ejaculations, 
which are so obvious, that one would think a serious 
mind could hardly miss them. The ease and cheer- 
fulness of our mind at our first awakening; the re- 
freshment we find from sleep ; the security we have 
enjoyed in that defenceless state; the provision of 
warm and decent apparel; the cheerful light of the 
returning sun; or (what is not unfit to mention to 
you,) the contrivances of art, taught and furnished 
by the great Author of all our conveniences, to sup- 
ply us with many useful hours of life in the absence 
of the sun ; the hope of returning to the dear society 
of our friends: the prospect of spending another day 
in the service of God, and the improvement of our 
own minds ; and, above all, the lively hope of a 
joyful resurrection to an eternal day of happiness 
and glory; any of these particulars, and many more, 
which I do not mention, may furnish us with matter 
of pleasing reflection, and cheerful praise, while we 
are rising. And, for our further assistance, when we 
are alone at this time, it may not be improper to 


speak sometimes to ourselves, and sometimes to our 
heavenly Father, in the natural expressions of joy 
and thankfulness. Permit me, sir, to add, that if we 
find our hearts in such a frame at our first awaking, 
even that, is just matter of praise, and the rather, as 
perhaps it is an answer to the prayer with which we 
lay down. 

5. For the exercise of secret devotion in a morn- 
ing, which I hope will generally he our first work, I 
cannot prescribe an exact method to another. You 
must, my dear friend, consult your own taste in some 
measure. The constituent parts of the service are, 
in the general, plain. Were I to propose a particular 
model for those, who have half, or three quarters of 
an hour at command, (which, with prudent conduct, 
I suppose most may have) it should be thus: 

6. To begin the stated devotions of the day with a 
solemn act of praise, offered to God on our knees, 
and generally with a low, yet distinct voice; acknow- 
ledging the mercies we had been reflecting on while 
rising; never forgetting to mention Christ, as the great 
foundation of all our enjoyments and our hopes, or to 
return thanks for the influences of the blessed Spirit, 
which have led our hearts to God, or are then en- 
gaging us to seek him. This, as well as other offices 
of devotion afterwards mentioned, must be done at- 
tentively and sincerely; for, not to offer our praises 
heartily, is in the sight of God, not to praise him at 
all. This address of praise may properly be con- 
cluded with an express renewal of our covenant with 
God, declaring our continued repeated resolution of 
being devoted to him, and particularly of living to 
his glory the ensuing day. 

7. It may be proper, after this, to take a prospect 
of the day before us, so far, as we can probably fore- 
see, in the general, where and how it may be spent; 
and seriously to reflect, How shall I employ myself 
for God this day? What business is to be done, and 
in what order? What opportunities may I expect, 
either of doing or of receiving good? What tempta- 
tions am I likely to be assaulted with, in any place, 


company, or circumstances, which may probably oc- 
cur? In what instances have I lately failed? and 
how shall I be safest now? 

8. After this review, it will be proper to offer up 
a short prayer, begging, that God would quicken us 
to each of these foreseen duties; that he would for- 
tify us against each of these apprehended dangers ; 
that he would grant us success in such or such a busi- 
ness, undertaken for his glory; and also that he would 
help us to discover and improve unforeseen opportu- 
nities, to resist unexpected temptations, and to bear 
patiently and religiously any afflictions which may 
surprise us in the day on which we are entering. 

9. I would advise you after this to read some por- 
tion of Scripture; not a great deal, nor the whole 
Bible in its course; but some select lessons out of its 
most useful parts, perhaps ten or twelve verses; not 
troubling yourself much about the exact connexion, 
or other critical niceties which may occur, (though 
at other times I would recommend them to your in- 
quiry, as you have ability and opportunity;) but 
considering them merely in a devotional and practi- 
cal view. Here take such instructions as readily pre- 
sent themselves to your thoughts, repeat them over 
to your own conscience, and charge your heart reli- 
giously to observe them, and act upon them under a 
sense of the divine authority which attends them. 
And if you pray over the substance of this Scripture, 
with your Bible open before you, it may impress your 
memory and your heart yet more deeply, and may 
form you to a copiousness and variety both of thought 
and expression in prayer. 

10. It might be proper to close these devotions 
with a psalm or hymn; and I rejoice with you, that 
through the pious care of many sacred poets, we are 
provided with so rich a variety for the assistance of 
the closet and family on these occasions, as well as 
for the service of the sanctuary. 

11. The most material directions which have oc- 
curred to me, relating to the progress of the day, are 
these: — That we be serious in the devotion of the 


day : — that we be diligent in the business of it, that is, 
in the prosecution of our worldly callings: — that we 

be temperate and prudent in the recreations of it: 

that we carefully mark the providences of the day : — 
that we cautiously guard against the temptations of 
it : — that we keep up a lively and humble dependence 
upon the divine influence, suitable to every emergen- 
cy of it: — that we govern our thoughts well in the 
solitude of the day, — and our discourses well in the 
conversations of it. These, sir, were the heads of a 
sermon which you lately heard me preach on this 
occasion, and to which I know you referred in that 
request which I am now endeavouring to answer. 
I will, therefore, touch upon the most material hints 
which fell under each of these particulars. 

12. (1.) For seriousness in devotion, whether pub- 
lic or domestic: Let us take a few moments, before 
we enter upon such solemnities, to pause, and reflect, 
on the perfections of the God we are addressing, on 
the importance of the business we are coming about, 
on the pleasure and advantage of a regular and de- 
vout attendance, and on the guilt and folly of an 
hypocritical formality. When engaged, let us main- 
tain a strict watchfulness over our own spirits, and 
check the first wanderings of thought. And when 
the duty is over, let us immediately reflect on the 
manner in which it has been performed, and ask our 
consciences whether we have reason to conclude that 
we are accepted of God in it ? For there is a certain 
manner of going through these offices, which our 
own hearts will immediately tell us it is impossible 
for God to approve: and if we have inadvertently fal- 
len into it, we ought to be deeply humbled before God 
for it, lest " our very prayer become sin," Psa. cix. 7. 

13. (2.) As for the hours of worldly business; whe- 
ther it be, as with you, that of the hands; or whether 
it be the labour of a learned life, not immediately re- 
lating to religious matters: Let us set to the prosecu- 
tion of it with a sense of God's authority, and with 
a regard to his glory. Let us avoid a dreaming, slug- 
gish, indolent temper, which nods over its work, and 


does only the business of one hour in two or three, 
In opposition to this, which runs through the life of 
some people, who yet think they are never idle ; let 
us endeavour to dispatch as much as we well can in 
a little time; considering that it is but a little we 
have in all. And let us be habitually sensible of the 
need we have of the divine blessing to make our 
labour successful. 

14. (3.) For seasons of diversion: Let us take care 
that our recreations be well chosen ; that they be pur- 
sued with a good intention, to fit us for a renewed 
application to the labours of life ; and thus that they 
be only used in subordination to the honour of God, 
the great end of all our actions. Let us take heed 
that our hearts be not estranged from God by them ; 
and that they do not take up too much of our time; 
always remembering that the faculties of human 
nature, and the advantages of the Christian revela- 
tion, were not given us in vain; but that we are al- 
ways to be in pursuit of some great and honourable 
end, and to indulge ourselves in amusements and 
diversions no further than as they make a part in a 
scheme of rational and manly, benevolent and pious 

15. (4.) For the observation of providences: It will 
be useful to regard the divine interposition in our 
comforts and in our afflictions. In our comforts, 
whether more common or extraordinary: That we 
find ourselves in continued health; that we are fur- 
nished with food for our support and pleasure ; that 
we have so many agreeable ways of employing our 
time; that we have so many agreeable friends, and 
those so good and so happy; that our business goes 
on so prosperously; that we go out and come in safe- 
ly; and that we enjoy composure and cheerfulness of 
spirit, without which nothing else could be enjoyed. 
All these should be regarded as providential favours, 
and due acknowledgments should be made to God 
on these accounts, as we pass through such agree- 
able scenes. On the other hand, Providence is to be 
regarded in every disappointment, in every loss, in 


every pain, in every instance of unkindness from 
those who have professed friendship: and we should 
endeavour to argue ourselves into a patient submis- 
sion, from this consideration, that the hand of God 
is always mediately, if not immediately, in each of 
them; and that if they are not properly the work of 
Providence, they are at least under its direction. It 
is a reflection, which we should particularly make 
with relation to those little cross accidents, as we are 
ready to call them, and those infirmities and follies 
in the temper and conduct of our intimate friends, 
which may else be ready to discompose us. And it 
is the more necessary to guard our minds here, as 
wise and good men often lose the command of them- 
selves on these comparatively little occasions, who 
calling up reason and religion to their assistance, 
stand the shock of great calamities with fortitude and 

16. (5.) For watchfulness against temptations: It 
is necessary, when changing our place, or our em- 
ployment, to reflect, " what snares attend me here?" 
And as this should be our habitual care, so we should 
especially guard against those snares which in the 
morning we foresaw. And when we are entering 
on those circumstances in which we expected the 
assault, we should reflect, especially if it be a matter 
of great importance, " Now the combat is going to 
begin: now God and the blessed angels are observing 
what constancy, what fortitude, there is in my soul; 
and how far the divine authority, and the remem- 
brance of my own prayers and resolutions will weigh 
with me when it comes to the trial." 

17. (6.) As for dependence on divine grace and 
influence : It must be universal ; and since we always 
need it, we must never forget that necessity. A mo- 
ment spent in humble fervent breathings after the 
communications of the divine assistance, may do 
more good than many minutes spent in mere reason- 
ings; and though, indeed, this should not be neglect- 
ed, since the light of reason is a kind of divine illu- 
mination, yet still it ought to be pursued in a due 


sense of our dependence on the Father of lights, or 
where we " think ourselves wisest, we may become 
vain in our imaginations," Rom. i. 2.1, 22. Let us 
therefore always call upon God; and say for instance, 
when we are going to pray, " Lord, fix my attention, 
awaken my holy affections, and pour out upon me 
the spirit of grace and of supplication," Zech. xii. 10. 
When taking up the Bible, or any other good book, 
" Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous 
things out of thy law," Psal. cxix. 18. Enlighten 
mine understanding; warm my heart. May my 
good resolutions be confirmed, and all the course of 
my life in a proper manner regulated. When ad- 
dressing ourselves to any worldly business, " Lord, 
prosper thou the work of mine hands upon me," 
Psal. xc. 17, and give thy blessing to my honest en- 
deavours. When going to any kind of recreation, 
Lord, bless my refreshments; let me not forget thee 
in them, but still keep thy glory in view. When 
coming into company, Lord, may I do and get good ! 
" Let no corrupt communication proceed out of my 
mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, 
that it may minister grace to the hearers," Eph. iv. 
29. When entering upon difficulties, Lord, give me 
" that wisdom which is profitable to direct," Eccl. 
x. 10; teach me thy way, " and lead me in a plain 
path," Psal. xxvii. 11. When encountering with 
temptations, " Let thy strength, gracious Redeem- 
er, be made perfect in my weakness," 2 Cor. xii. 9. 
These instances may illustrate the design of this 
direction, though they be far from a complete enu- 
meration of all the circumstances in which it is to be 

18. (7.) For the government of our thoughts in 
solitude: Let us accustom ourselves, on all occasions, 
to exercise a due command over our thoughts. Let 
us take care of those entanglements of passion, and 
those attachments to any present interest in view, 
which would deprive us of our power over them. 
Let us set before us some profitable subject of 
thought; such as, the perfections of the blessed God, 


the love of Christ, the value of time, the certainty 
and importance of death and judgment, and of the 
eternity of happiness or misery which is to follow. 
Let us also at such intervals reflect on what we have 
observed, as to the state of our own souls, with re- 
gard to the advance or decline of religion; or on the 
last sermon we have heard, or the last portion of 
Scripture we have read. You may, perhaps, in this 
connexion, sir, recollect what I have (if I remember 
right) proposed to you in conversation ; that it may 
be very useful to select some one verse of Scripture, 
which we had met with in the morning, and to trea- 
sure it up in our mind, resolving to think of that at 
any time when we are at a loss for matter of pious 
reflection in any intervals of leisure for entering upon 
it. This will often be as a spring, from whence many 
profitable and delightful thoughts may arise, which 
perhaps we did not before see in that connexion and 
force. Or, if it should not be so, yet I am persuaded 
it will be much better to repeat the same Scripture 
in our mind an hundred times in a day, with some 
pious ejaculations formed upon it, than to leave our 
thoughts at the mercy of all those various trifles 
which may otherwise intrude upon us, the variety 
of which will be far from making amends for their 

19. (8.) Lastly, for the government of our discourse 
in company: We should take care that nothing may 
escape us which can expose us, or our Christian 
profession, to censure and reproach: nothing injuri- 
ous to those that are absent, or to those that are pre- 
sent; nothing malignant, nothing insincere, nothing 
which may corrupt, nothing which may provoke, 
nothing which may mislead those about us. Nor 
should we by any means be content that what we 
say is innocent: it should be our desire that it may 
be edifying to ourselves and others. In this view 
we should endeavour to have some subject of useful 
discourse always ready, in which you may be assist- 
ed by the hints given about furniture for thought 
under the former head. We should watch for decent 


opportunities of introducing useful reflections; and 
if a pious friend attempt to do it, we should endea- 
vour to second it immediately. When the conversa- 
tion does not turn directly on religious subjects, we 
should endeavour to make it improving some other 
way ; we should reflect on the character and capaci- 
ties of our company, that we may lead them to talk 
of what they understand best; for their discourses 
on those subjects will probably be most pleasing to 
themselves, as well .as most useful to us. And, in 
pauses of discourse, it may not be improper to lift 
up a holy ejaculation to God, that his grace may 
assist us and our friends in our endeavours to do 
good to each other; that all we say and do may be 
worthy the character of reasonable creatures, and of 

20. The directions for a religious closing of the 
day, which I shall here mention, are only two. — Let 
us see to it, that the secret duties of the evening be 
well performed; and let us lie down on our beds in a 
pious frame. 

21. (1.) For secret devotion in the evening I would 
propose a method something different from that in 
the morning; but still, as then, with due allowances 
for circumstances, which may make unthought of 
alterations proper. I should, sir, advise to read a 
portion of Scripture in the first place, with suitable 
reflections and prayer, as above ; then to read a hymn 
or psalm : after this to enter on self-examination, to 
be followed by a longer prayer than that which fol- 
lowed reading, to be formed on this review of the 
day. In this address to the throne of grace it will be 
highly proper to entreat that God would pardon the 
omissions and offences of the day ; to praise him for 
mercies temporal and spiritual ; to recommend our- 
selves to his protection for the ensuing night: with 
proper petitions for others, whom we ought to bear 
on our hearts before him; and particularly for those 
friends with whom we have conversed or correspond- 
ed in the preceding day. Many other concerns will 
occur, both in morning and evening prayer, which 


I have not here hinted at ; but I did not apprehend 
that a full enumeration of these things belonged, by 
any means, to our present purpose. 

22. Before I quit this head, I must take the liberty 
to remind you, that self-examination is so important 
a duty, that it will be worth our while to spend a 
few words upon it. And this branch of it is so easy, 
that when we have proper questions before us, any 
person of a common understanding may hope to go 
through it with advantage under a divine blessing. 
I offer you, therefore, the following queries, which I 
hope you will, with such alterations as you may judge 
requisite, keep near you for daily use. " Did I awake, 
as with God this morning, and rise with a grateful 
sense of his goodness? How were the secret devo- 
tions of the morning performed? Did I offer my 
solemn praises, and renew the dedication of myself 
to God, with becoming attention and suitable affec- 
tions? Did I lay my scheme for the business of the 
day wisely and well? How did I read the Scripture, 
and any other devotional or practical piece, which I 
might afterwards conveniently review? Did it do 
my heart good, or was it a mere amusement? How 
have the other stated devotions of the day been attend- 
ed, whether in the family or in public? Plave I pur- 
sued the common business of the day with diligence 
and spirituality; doing every thing in season, and 
with all convenient dispatch, and " as unto the Lord ?" 
Col. ii. 23. What time have I lost this day, in the 
morning or the forenoon, in the afternoon or the even- 
ing; (for these divisions will assist your recollection;) 
and what has occasioned the loss of it? With what 
temper, and under what regulations have the recrea- 
tions of this day been pursued? Have I seen the 
hand of God in my mercies, health, cheerfulness, food, 
clothing, books, preservation in journeys, success of 
business, conversation and kindness of friends, &c. ? 
Have I seen it in afflictions, and particularly in little 
things which had a tendency to vex and disquiet me? 
And with regard to this interposition, have I received 
my comforts thankfully, and my afflictions submis- 


sively? How have I guarded against the tempta- 
tions of the day, particularly against this or that 
temptation which I foresaw in the morning? Have 
I maintained an humble dependence on divine influ- 
ences? Have I " lived by faith on the Son of God," 
Gal. ii. 20, and regarded Christ this day as my Teach- 
er and Governor, my Atonement and Intercessor, 
my Example and Guardian, my Strength and Fore- 
runner? Have I been looking forward to death and. 
eternity this day, and considered myself as a proba- 
tioner for heaven, and through grace an expectant of 
it? Have I governed my thoughts well, especially in 
such or such an interval of solitude ? How was my sub- 
ject of thought this day chosen, and how was it re- 
garded? Have I governed my discourses well in such 
and such company? Did I say nothing passionate, mis- 
chievous, slanderous, imprudent, impertinent ? Has 
my heart this day been full of love to God, and to all 
mankind? And have I sought, and found, and im- 
proved opportunities of doing and of getting good? 
— With what attention and improvement have I read 
the Scripture this evening? How was self-examina- 
tion performed the last night? and how have I profit- 
ed this day by any remarks I then made on former 
negligences and mistakes ? With what temper did I 
then lie down and compose myself to sleep ? 

23. You will easily see, sir, that these questions 
are so adjusted, as to be an abridgment of the most 
material advices I have given in this letter; and I 
believe I need not, to a person of your understand- 
ing, say any thing as to the usefulness of such inqui- 
ries. Conscience will answer them in a few minutes; 
but if you think them too large and particular, you 
may make a still shorter abstract for daily use, and 
reserve these, with such obvious alterations as will 
then be necessary, for seasons of more than ordinary 
exactness in review, which I hope will occur at least 
once a week. Secret devotion being then performed 
before drowsiness render us unfit for it, the interval 
between that and our going to rest must be con- 


. ducted by the rules mentioned under the next head. 
And nothing will further remain to be considered 
here but, 

24. (2.) The sentiments with which we should lie 
down and compose ourselves to sleep. Now, here it 
is obviously suitable to think of the divine goodness 
in adding another day, and the mercies of it, to the 
former days and mercies of our life : to take notice 
of the indulgence of Providence in giving us commo- 
dious habitations and easy beds, and continuing to us 
such health of body that we can lay ourselves down 
at ease upon them, and such serenity of mind as leaves 
us any room to hope for refreshing sleep: a refresh- 
ment to be sought not merely as an indulgence to 
animal nature, but as what our wise Creator, in order 
to keep us humble in the midst of so many infirmi- 
ties, has been pleased to make necessary to our being 
able to pursue his service with renewed alacrity. 
Thus may our sleeping as well as our waking hours, 
be, in some sense, devoted to God. And when we 
are just going to resign ourselves to the image of 
death, (to what one of the ancients beautifully calls 
its lesser mysteries;) it is also evidently proper to 
think seriously of that end of all the living, and to 
renew those actings of repentance and faith which 
we should judge necessary, if we were to wake no 
more here. You have once, sir, seen a meditation of 
that kind in my hand : I will transcribe it for you in 
the postscript; and therefore shall add no more to 
this head, but here put a close to the directions you 

25. I am persuaded, the most important of them 
have, in one form or other, been long regarded by 
you and made governing maxims of your life. I shall 
greatly rejoice if the review of these, and the exami- 
nation and trial of the rest, may be the means of 
leading you into more intimate communion with 
God, and so of rendering your life more pleasant 
and useful, and your eternity, whenever that is to 
commence, more glorious. There is not a human 


creature upon earth whom I should not delight to 
serve in these important interests; but I can faith- 
fully assure you, that I am with particular respect, 
Dear Sir, 
Your very affectionate friend and servant. 

26. This, reader, with the alteration of a very few 
words, is the letter I wrote to a worthy friend, (now, 
I doubt not, with God,) about sixteen years ago : and 
I can assuredly say, that the experience of each of 
these years has confirmed me in these views, and 
established me in the persuasion, that one day thus 
spent is preferable to whole years of sensuality and 
the neglect of religion. I chose to insert the letter as 
it is, because I thought the freedom and particularity 
of the advice I had given in it would appear most 
natural in its original form : and as I propose to en- 
force these advices in the next chapter, I shall con- 
clude this with that meditation which I promised my 
friend as a postscript; and which I could wish you 
to make so familiar to yourself, as that you might be 
able to recollect the substance of it, whenever you 
compose yourself to sleep. 


my soul, look forward a little with seriousness 
and attention, and " learn wisdom by the considera- 
tion of thy latter end," Deut. xxxii. 29. Another 
of thy mortal days is now numbered and finished : 
and as I have put off my clothes, and laid myself 
upon my bed for the repose of the night, so will the 
day of life quickly come to its period, so must the 
body itself be put off, and laid to its repose in a bed 
of dust. There let it rest; for it will be no more re- 
garded by me than the clothes which I have now 
laid aside. I have another far more important con- 
cern to attend. Think, my soul, when death comes, 
thou art to enter upon the eternal world, and to be 
fixed either in heaven or in hell. All the schemes 


and cares, the hopes and fears, the pleasures and sor- 
rows of life, will come to their period, and the world 
of spirits will open upon thee. And, oh, how soon 
may it open ! perhaps before the returning sun brings 
on the light of another day. To-morrow's sun may 
not enlighten mine eyes, but only shine round a 
senseless corpse, which may lie in the place of this 
animated body: at least, the death of many in the 
flower of their age, and many who were superior 
to me in capacity, piety, and the prospects of useful- 
ness, loudly warn me not to depend on a long life, 
and engage me rather to wonder that I am continued 
here so many years, than to be surprised if I am 
speedily removed. 

And now, my soul, answer, as in the sight of 
God, Art thou ready? art thou ready? Is there no 
sin unforsaken, and so unrepented of, to fill me with 
anguish in my departing moments, and to make me 
tremble on the brink of eternity? Dread to remain 
under the guilt of it, and this moment renew thy 
most earnest applications to the mercy of God, and 
the blood of a Redeemer, for deliverance from it. 

But if the great account be already adjusted, if thou 
hast cordially repented of thy numerous offences, if 
thou hast sincerely committed thyself by faith into 
the hands of the blessed Jesus, and hast not renoun- 
ced thy covenant with him by returning to the allow- 
ed practice of sin, then start not at the thoughts of a 
separation; it is not in the power of death to hurt a 
soul devoted to God, and united to the great Re- 
deemer. It may take me from my worldly comforts; 
it may disconcert and break my schemes for service 
on earth ; but, my soul, diviner entertainments and 
nobler services wait thee beyond the grave. For 
ever blessed be the name of God, and the love of 
Jesus, for these quieting, encouraging, joyful views! 
I will now " lay me down in peace, and sleep," Psal. 
iv. 8, free from the fears of what shall be the issue 
of this night ; whether life or death may be appointed 
for me. " Father, into thine hands I commend my 
spirit," Luke xxiii. 46: for "thou hast redeemed me, 


God of truth," Psal. xxxi. 5 ; and therefore I can 
cheerfully refer it to thy choice whether I shall wake 
in this world or another. 



Christians fix their views too low, and indulge too indolent a dispo- 
sition, which makes it the more necessary to urge such a life as 
that under consideration, 1,2. It is therefore enforced, (1.) From 
its being apparently reasonable, considering ourselves as the crea- 
tures of God, and as redeemed by the blood of Christ, 3. (2.) From 
its evident tendency to conduce to our comfort in life, 4. (3.) 
From the influence it will have to promote our usefulness to 
others, 5. (4.) From its efficacy to make afflictions lighter, 6. 
(5.) From its happy aspect on death, 7 ; and (6.) On eternity, 8. 
Whereas not to desire improvement would argue a soul destitute 
of religion, 9. A prayer suited to the state of a soul who longs 
to attain the life recommended above. 

1. I have been assigning in the preceding chapter, 
what I fear will seem to some of my readers so hard 
a task, that they will want courage to attempt it ; 
and it is indeed a life, in many respects, so far above 
that of the generality of Chfistians, that I am not 
without apprehensions that many who deserve the 
name, may think the directions, after all the precau- 
tions with which I have proposed them, are carried 
to an unnecessary degree of nicety and strictness. 
But I am persuaded much of the credit and comfort 
of Christianity is lost in consequence of its professors 
fixing their aims too low, and f not conceiving of their 
high and holy calling in so elevated and sublime a 
view as the nature of religion would require, and the 
word of God would direct. I am fully convinced, 
that the expressions of" walking with God; of being 
in the fear of the Lord all the day long," Prov. xxiii. 
17; and, above all, that of " loving the Lord our God 


with all our heart and soul, and mind and strength," 
Mark xii. 30, must require, if not all these circum- 
stances, yet the substance of all that I have been 
recommending, so far as we have capacity, leisure 
and opportunity; and I cannot but think, that many 
might command more of the latter, and perhaps im- 
prove their capacities too, if they would take a due 
care in the government of themselves, if they would 
give up vain and unnecessary diversions, and certain 
indulgences, which only suit and delight the lower 
part of our nature, and (to say the best of them) de- 
prive us of pleasures much better than themselves, 
if they do not plunge us into guilt. Many of these 
rules would appear easily practicable, if men would 
learn to know the value of time, and particularly to 
redeem it from unnecessary sleep, which wastes so 
many golden hours of the day: hours in which many 
of God's servants are delighting themselves in him, 
and drinking in full draughts of the water of life, 
while these their brethren are slumbering upon their 
beds, and lost in vain dreams, as far below the com- 
mon entertainments of a rational creature, as the plea- 
sures of the sublimest devotion are above them. 

2. I know, likewise, that the mind is very fickle 
and inconstant, and that it is a hard thing to preserve 
such a government and authority over our thoughts 
as would be very desirable, and as the plan I have 
laid down will require. But so much of the honour 
of God, and so much of your own true happiness de- 
pends upon it, that I beg you will give me a patient 
and attentive hearing while I am pleading with you ; 
and that you will seriously examine the arguments, 
and then judge whether a care and conduct like that 
which I have advised, be not in itself reasonable; 
and whether it will not be highly conducive to your 
comfort and usefulness in life, your peace in death, 
and the advancement and increase of your eternal 

3. Let conscience say whether such a life, as I 
have described above, be not in itself highly reason- 
able. Look over the substance of it again, and bring 


it under a close examination; for I am very appre- 
hensive that some weak objections may arise against 
the whole, which may, in their consequences, affect 
particulars, against which no reasonable man would 
presume to make any objection at all. Recollect, 
Christian, and carry it with you in your memory and 
your heart, while you are pursuing this review, that 
you are the creature of God, that you are purchased 
with the blood of Jesus ; and then say whether these 
relations in which you stand do not demand all that 
application and resolution which I would engage you 
to. Suppose all the counsels I have given reduced 
into practice : suppose every day begun and conclu- 
ded with such devout breathings after God, and such 
holy retirements for morning and evening converse 
with him and your own heart: suppose a daily care 
in contriving how your time may be managed, and 
in reflecting how it has been employed : suppose this 
regard to God, this sense of his presence, and zeal for 
his glory to run through your acts of worship, your 
hours of business and recreation: suppose this atten- 
tion to Providence, this guard against temptations, 
this dependence upon divine influence, this govern- 
ment of the thoughts in solitude and of the discourse 
in company : nay, I will add further, suppose every 
particular direction given to be pursued, excepting 
when particular cases occur, with respect to which 
you shall be able in conscience to say, " I wave it 
not from indolence and carelessness, but because I 
think it will just now be more pleasing to God to be 
doing something else;" which may often happen in 
human life where general rules are best concerted: 
suppose, 1 say, all this to be done, not for a day, or 
a week, but through the remainder of life, whether 
longer or shorter; and suppose this to be reviewed at 
the close of life, in the full exercise of your rational 
faculties, will there be reason to say, in the reflection, 
" I have taken too much pains in religion; the Author 
of my being did not deserve all this from me; less 
diligence, less fidelity, less zeal, than this might have 
been equivalent for the blood which was shed for my 


redemption. A part of my heart, a part of my time, 
a part of my labours, might have sufficed for him 
who has given me all my powers; for him, who 
has delivered me from that destruction, which would 
have made them my everlasting torment; for him 
who is raising me to the regions of a blissful immor- 
tality?" Can you with any face say this? If you 
cannot, then surely your conscience bears witness, 
that all I have recommended under the limitations 
above is reasonable; that duty and gratitude require 
it; and consequently that, by every allowed failure 
in it, you bring guilt upon your own soul, you offend 
God, and act unworthily of your Christian profession. 
4. I entreat you further to consider whether such 
a conduct as I have been now recommending would 
not conduce much to your comfort and usefulness in 
life. Reflect seriously what is true happiness. Does 
it consist in distance from God, or in nearness to him? 
Surely you cannot be a Christian, surely you cannot 
be a rational man, if you doubt whether communion 
with the great Father of our spirits be a pleasure and 
felicity; and if it be, then surely they enjoy most of 
it who keep him most constantly in view. You can- 
not but know in your own conscience, that it is this 
which makes the happiness of heaven ; and therefore 
the more of it any man enjoys upon earth, the more of 
heaven comes down into his soul. If you have made 
any trial of religion, though it be but a few weeks or 
months since you first became acquainted with it, 
you must be some judge of it upon your own expe- 
rience, which have been the most pleasant days of 
your life. Have they not been those in which you 
have acted most upon these principles; those in which 
you have most steadily and resolutely carried them 
through every hour of time, and every circumstance 
of life ? The check which you must, in many in- 
stances, give to your own inclinations might seem 
disagreeable : but it would surely be overbalanced in 
a most happy manner by the satisfaction you would 
find in a consciousness of self-government; in having 
such a command of your thoughts, affections and 


actions, as is much more glorious than any authority- 
over others can be. 

5. I would also entreat you to consider the influ- 
ence which such a conduct as this might have upon 
the happiness of others. And it is easy to be seen 
it must be very great, as you would find your heart 
always disposed to watch every opportunity of doing 
good, and to seize it with eagerness and delight. It 
would engage you to make it the study and business 
of your life to order things in such a manner that the 
end of one kind and useful action might be the begin- 
ning of another ; in which you would go on as natural- 
ly as the inferior animals do in those productions and 
actions by which mankind are relieved or enriched; or 
as the earth bears her successive crops of different 
vegetable supplies. And though mankind be, in this 
corrupt state, so unhappily inclined to imitate evil ex- 
amples rather than good ; yet it may be expected that 
while your light shines before men, some seeing your 
good works, will endeavour to transcribe them in 
their own lives, and so to " glorify your Father which 
is in heaven," Matt. v. 16. The charms of such beau- 
tiful models would surely impress some, and incline 
them at least to attempt an imitation : and every at- 
tempt would dispose to another. And thus, through 
the divine goodness, you might be entitled to a share in 
the praise, and the reward, not only of the good you 
had immediately done yourself, but likewise of that 
which you had engaged others to do. And no eye but 
that of an all-searching God can see into what distant 
times or places the blessed consequences may reach. 
In every instance in which these consequences ap- 
pear, it will put a generous and sublime joy into your 
heart, which no worldly prosperity could, afford, and 
which would tie the liveliest emblem of that high 
delight which the blessed God feels, in seeing and 
making his creatures happy. 

6. It is true indeed, that amidst all these pious and 
benevolent cares, afflictions may come, and in some 
measure interrupt you in the midst of your projected 
schemes. But surely these afflictions will sit much 



lighter when your heart is gladdened with the peace- 
ful and joyful reflections of your own mind, and with 
so honourable a testimony of conscience before God 
and man. Delightful will it be to go back to past 
scenes in your pleasing review, and to think that you 
have not only been sincerely humbling yourself for 
those past offences, which afflictions may bring to 
your remembrance ; but that you have given substan- 
tial proofs of the sincerity of that humiliation, by 
real reformation of what has been amiss, and by act- 
ing with strenuous and vigorous resolution on the 
contrary principle. And while converse with God, 
and doing good to men, are made the great business 
and pleasure of life, you will find a thousand oppor- 
tunities of enjoyment, even in the midst of those af- 
flictions, which would render you so incapable of 
relishing the pleasures of sense, that the mention of 
them might, in those circumstances, seem an insult 
and a reproach. 

7. At length death will come ; that solemn and im- 
portant hour, which hath been passed through by so 
many thousands who have in the main lived such a 
life, and by so many millions who have neglected it. 
And let conscience say, if there was ever one of all 
these millions who had then any reason to rejoice in 
that neglect; or any one, among the most strict and 
exemplary Christians, who then lamented that his 
heart and life had been too zealously devoted to God ? 
Let conscience say, whether they have wished to 
have a part of that time, which they have thus em- 
ployed, given back to them again, that they might be 
more conformed to this world, that they might plunge 
themselves deeper into its amusements, or pursue its 
honours, its possessions or its pleasures with greater 
eagerness than they had done? If you were yourself 
dying, and a dear friend or child stood near you, 
and this book, and the preceding chapter of it should 
chance to come into your thoughts, would you caution 
that friend or child against conducting himself by such 
rules as I have advanced? The question may per- 
haps seem unnecessary where the answer is so plain 


and so certain. Well then, let me beseech you to 
learn how you should live, by reflecting how you 
would die, and what course you would wish to look 
back upon, when you are just quitting this world, 
and entering upon another. Think seriously; what 
if death should surprise you on a sudden, and you 
should be called into eternity at an hour's or a mi- 
nute's warning, would you not wish that your last day 
should have thus been begun, and the course of it, if 
it were a day of health and activity, should have 
been thus managed? Would you not wish that your 
Lord should find you engaged in such thoughts, and 
in such pursuits? Would not the passage, the flight 
from earth to heaven, be most easy, most pleasant, in 
this view and connexion? And, on the other hand, 
if death should make more gradual approaches, 
would not the remembrance of such a pious, holy, 
humble, diligent, and useful life, make a dying bed 
much softer and easier than it would otherwise be ? 
You would not die depending upon these things: 
God forbid that you should ! Sensible of your many 
imperfections, you would, no doubt, desire to throw 
yourself at the feet of Christ, that you might appear 
before God adorned with his righteousness, and wash- 
ed from your sins in his blood. You would also, with 
your dying breath, ascribe to the riches of his grace 
every good disposition you had found in your heart, 
and every worthy action you had been enabled to 
perform : but would it not give you a delight worthy 
of being purchased with ten thousand worlds, to re- 
flect, that, " his grace bestowed on you had not been 
in vain," 1 Cor. xv. 10, but that you had, from an 
humble principle of grateful love, glorified your hea- 
venly Father on earth, and, in some degree, though 
not with the perfection you could desire, " finish- 
ed the work which he had given you to do:" John 
xvii. 4 ; that you had been living for many years past 
as on the borders of heaven, and endeavouring to 
form your heart and life to the temper and manners 
of its inhabitants? 

8. And, once more, let me entreat you to reflect on 


the view you will have of this matter when you come 
into a world of glory, if (which I hope will be the hap- 
py case,) divine mercy conduct you thither. Will not 
your reception there be affected by your care, or ne- 
gligence, in this holy course ? Will it appear an in- 
different, thing in the eye of the blessed Jesus, who 
distributes the crowns, and allots the thrones there, 
whether you have been among the most zealous, or 
the most indolent of his servants? Surely you must 
wish to have " an entrance administered unto you 
abundantly into the kingdom of your Lord and Sa- 
viour:" 2 Pet. i. 11: and what can more certainly 
conduce to it than to be always abounding in his 
work? 1 Cor. xv. 58. You cannot think so meanly of 
that glorious state as to imagine that you shall there 
look round about with a secret disappointment, and 
say in your heart, that you overvalued the inheritance 
you have received, and pursued it with too much 
earnestness. You will not surely complain that it 
had too many of your thoughts and cares: but, on 
the contrary, you have the highest reason to believe, 
that if any thing were capable of exciting your indig- 
nation and your grief there, it would be that, amidst 
so many motives, and so many advantages, you ex- 
erted yourself no more in the prosecution of such a 

9. But I will not enlarge on so clear a case, and 
therefore conclude the chapter with reminding you, 
that to allow yourself deliberately to sit down satis- 
fied with any imperfect attainments in religion, and 
to look upon a more confirmed and improved state 
of it as what you do not desire, nay, as what you 
secretly resolve that you will not pursue, is one of 
the most fatal designs we can well imagine, that you 
are an entire stranger to the first principles of it. 


Blessed God, I cannot contradict the force of these 
reasonings ; that I might feel more than ever the 


lasting effects of them ! Thou art the great fountain 
of being and of happiness; and as from thee my be- 
ing was derived, so from thee my happiness directly 
flows; and the nearer I am to thee, the purer and the 
more delicious is the stream. "With thee is the 
fountain of life: in thy light" may I "see light," 
Psal. xxxvi. 9. The great object of my final hope 
is to dwell for ever with thee; give me now some 
foretaste of that delight. Give me, I beseech thee, 
to experience the blessedness of " that man who fear- 
eth the Lord, and who delighteth greatly in his com- 
mandments," Psal. cxii. 1 ; and so form my heart by 
thy grace, that I may " be in the fear of the Lord all 
the day long," Pro v. xxiii. 17. 

To thee may my awaking thoughts be directed, 
^and with the first ray of light that visits mine open- 
ing eyes, " lift up, Lord, the light of thy counte- 
nance upon me," Psal. iv. 6. When my faculties 
are roused from that broken state in which they lay, 
while buried, and as it were annihilated, in sleep, 
may my first actions be consecrated to thee, God, 
who givest me light; who givest me, as it were, 
every morning a new life and a new reason. Enable 
my heart to pour itself out before thee with a filial 
reverence, freedom and endearment ! And may I 
hearken to God, as I desire that he should hearken 
unto me. May thy word be read with attention 
and pleasure. May my soul be delivered into the 
mould of it ; and may I " hide it in mine heart, that 
I sin not against thee," Psal. cxix. 11. Animated 
by the great motives there suggested, may I every 
morning be renewing the dedication of myself to 
thee, through Jesus Christ thy beloved Son ; and be 
deriving from him new supplies of that blessed Spirit 
of thine, whose influences are the life of my soul. 

And being thus prepared, do thou, Lord, lead me 
forth by the hand to all the duties and events of the 
day. In that calling, wherein thou hast been pleased 
to call me, "may I abide with thee," 1 Cor. vii. 20; 
not being " slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, 
serving the Lord," Rom. xii. 11. May I know the 


value of time, and always improve it to the best 
advantage, in such duties as thou hast assigned me, 
how low soever they may seem, or how painful so- 
ever they may be. To thy glory, Lord, may the 
labours of life be pursued; and to thy glory may the 
refreshments of it be sought. " Whether I eat, or 
drink, or whatsoever I do," 1 Cor. x. 31, may that 
end still be kept in view, and may it be attained; 
and may every refreshment and release from busi- 
ness prepare me to serve thee with greater vigour 
and resolution. 

May mine eye be watchful to observe the descent 
of mercies from thee; and may a grateful sense of 
thine hand in them add a favour and relish to all. 
And when afflictions come, which, in a world like 
this, I would accustom myself to expect, may I 
remember that they come from thee ; and may that 
fully reconcile me to them, while I firmly believe 
that the same love which gives us our daily bread, 
appoints us our daily crosses ; which I would learn 
to take up, that I may " follow my dear Lord," 
Mark viii. 34, with a temper like that which he 
manifested when ascending Calvary for my sake; 
saying like him, " The cup which my Father hath 
given me, shall I not drink it?" John xviii. 11. And 
when I enter into temptation, do thou, Lord, " deliv- 
er me from evil," Matt. vi. 13. Make me sensible, 
I entreat thee, of my own weakness, that my heart 
may be raised to thee for present communications of 
proportionable strength. When I am engaged in the 
society of others, may it be my desire and my care 
that I may do and receive as much good as possible, 
and may I continually answer the great purposes of 
life, by honouring thee, and diffusing useful know- 
ledge and happiness in the world. And when I am 
alone, may I remember my heavenly Father is with 
me; and may I enjoy the pleasure of thy presence, 
and feel the animating power of it, awakening my 
soul to an earnest desire to think, and act, as in thy 

Thus let my days be spent: and let them always 


be closed in thy fear, and under a sense of thy gra- 
cious presence. Meet me, Lord, in mine evening 
retirements. May I choose the most proper time for 
them; may I diligently attend to reading and prayer; 
and when I review my conduct, may I do it with an 
impartial eye. Let not self-love spread a false co- 
louring over it ; but may I judge myself, as one that 
expects to be judged of the Lord, and is very solici- 
tous he may be approved by thee, " who searchest 
all hearts, and canst not forget any of my works," 
Amos viii. 7. Let " my prayer come daily before 
thee as incense," and let " the lifting up of my hands 
be as the morning and the evening sacrifice," Psal. 
cxli. 2. May I resign my powers to sleep in sweet 
calmness and serenity; conscious that I have lived to 
God in the day, and cheerfully persuaded that I am 
accepted of thee in Christ Jesus my Lord, and hum- 
bly hoping in thy mercy through him, whether my 
days on earth be prolonged, or " the residue of them 
be cut off in the midst," Isa. xxxviii. 10. If death 
comes by a leisurely advance, may it find me thus 
employed; and if I am called on a sudden to ex- 
change worlds, may my last days and hours be found 
to have been conducted by such maxims as these: 
that I may have a sweet and easy passage from the 
services of time to the infinitely nobler services of an 
immortal state. I ask it through him, who while on 
earth was the fairest pattern and example of every 
virtue and grace, and who now lives and reigns with 
thee, " able to save unto the uttermost," Heb. vii. 25; 
to him, having done all, I would fly, with humble 
acknowledgment that I am " an unprofitable ser- 
vant," Luke xvii. 10; to him be glory for ever and 
ever. Amen. 




Dangers continue after the first difficulties (considered, chap, xvi.) 
are broken through, 1. Particular cautions, (1.) Against a slug- 
gish and indolent temper, 2. (2.) Against the excessive love of 
sensual pleasure, 3. Leading to a neglect of business, and need- 
less expense, 4. (3.) Against the snares of vain company, 5. 
(4.) Against excessive hurry of worldly business, 6 ; which is 
enforced by the fatal consequences these have had in many cases, 
7. The chapter concludes with an exhortation to die to this 
world, and live to another, 8; and the young convert's prayer for 
divine protection against the dangers arising from these snares. 

1. The representation I have been making of the 
pleasure and advantage of a life spent in devotedness 
to God, and communion with him, as I have described 
it above, will, I hope, engage you, my dear reader, 
to form some purposes, and make some attempt to 
obtain it. But, from considering the nature, and ob- 
serving the course of things, it appears exceedingly 
evident, that, besides the general opposition, which 
I formerly mentioned, as likely to attend you in your 
first entrance on a religious life, you will find, even 
after you have resolutely broken through this, that a 
variety of hinderances in any attempts of exemplary 
piety, and in the prosecution of a remarkably strict 
and edifying course, will present themselves daily in 
your path. And whereas you may, by a few reso- 
lute efforts, baffle some of the former sort of enemies, 
these will be perpetually renewing their onsets, and 
a vigorous struggle must be continually maintained 
with them. Give me leave now, therefore, to be 
particular in my cautions against some of the chief 
of them. And here I would insist upon the difficul- 
ties which will arise from indolence and the love of 
pleasure, from vain company, and from worldly cares. 
Each of these may prove ensnaring to any, and 


especially to young persons, to whom I would now 
have particular regard. 

2. I entreat you, therefore, in the first place, that 
you would guard against a sluggish and indolent 
temper. The love of ease insinuates itself into the 
heart, under a variety of plausible pretences, which 
are often allowed to pass, when temptations of a gross- 
er nature would not be admitted. The misspend- 
ing a little time seems to wise and good men but a 
small matter ; yet this sometimes runs them into great 
inconveniences. It often leads them to break in upon 
the seasons regularly allotted to devotion, and to de- 
fer business, which might immediately be done, but 
being put off from day to day, is not done at all ; 
and thereby the services of life are at least dimin- 
ished, and the rewards of eternity diminished propor- 
tionally; not to insist upon it, that very frequently 
this lays the soul open to further temptations, by 
which it falls, in consequence of being found unem- 
ployed. Be, therefore, suspicious of the first ap- 
proaches of this kind. Remember that the soul of 
man is an active being, and that it must find its plea- 
sure in activity. Gird up, therefore, the "loins of 
your mind," 1 Pet. i. 13. Endeavour to keep your- 
self always well employed. Be exact, if I may with 
humble reverence use the expression, in your ap- 
pointments with God. Meet him early in the morn- 
ing; and say not with the sluggard, when the proper 
hour of rising is come, " A little more sleep, a little 
more slumber," Prov. vi. 10. That time which pru- 
dence shall advise you, give to conversation, and to 
other recreations; but when that is elapsed, and no 
unforeseen and important engagement prevents, rise 
and be gone. Quit the company of your dearest 
friends, and retire to your proper business, whether 
it be in the field, the shop, or the closet; for by act- 
ing contrary to the secret dictates of your mind, as to 
what it is just at the present moment best to do, 
though it be but in the manner of spending half an 
hour, some degree of guilt is contracted, and a habit 
is cherished, which may draw after it much worse 


consequences. Consider, therefore, what duties are 
to be dispatched, and in what seasons. Form your 
plan as prudently as you can, and pursue it resolute- 
ly: unless any unexpected incident arises, which leads 
you to conclude that duty calls you another way. 
Allowances for such unthought of interruptions must 
be made ; but if in consequence of this, you are obliged 
to omit any thing of importance which you purposed 
to have done to-day, do it if possible to-morrow; and 
do not cut yourself out new work till the former plan 
be dispatched; unless you really judge it, not merely 
more amusing, but more important. And always re- 
member, that a servant of Christ should see to it that 
he determine on these occasions as in his Master's 

3. Guard also against an excessive love of sensitive 
and animal pleasure, as that which will be a great 
hinderance to you in that religious course which I 
have now been urging. You cannot but know that 
Christ has told us, that " a man must deny himself, 
and take up his cross daily, if he desire to become his 
disciple," Luke ix. 23. Christ the Son of God, "the 
Former and the Heir of all things, pleased not him- 
self;" Rom. xv. 3, but submitted to want, to difficul- 
ties and hardships, in the way of duty, and some of 
them in the extremest kind and degree, for the glory 
of God, and the salvation of men. In this way we are 
to follow him; and as we know not how soon we may 
be called even to " resist unto blood, striving against 
sin," Heb. xii. 4, it is certainly best to accustom our- 
selves to that discipline which we may possibly be 
called out to exercise, even in such rigorous heights. 
A soft and delicate life will give force to temptations, 
which might easily be subdued by one who has ha- 
bituated himself to " endure hardship, as a good sol- 
dier of Jesus Christ," 2 Tim. ii. 3. It also produces 
an attachment to this world, and an unwillingness to 
leave it ; which ill becomes those who are strangers 
and pilgrims on earth, and who expect so soon to be 
called away to that better country which they profess 
to seek, Heb. xi. 1 3—1 6. Add to this, that what the 


world calls a life of pleasure, is necessarily a life of 
expense too, and may, perhaps, lead you, as it has 
done may others, and especially many who have been 
setting out in the world, beyond the limits which pro- 
vidence has assigned; and so, after a short course of 
indulgence, may produce proportionable want. And 
while in other cases it is true, that pity should be 
shown to the poor, it is a poverty that is justly con- 
temptible, because it is the effect of a man's own 
folly; and when your want thus "comes upon you 
as an armed man," Prov. vi. 11, you will not only 
rind yourself stripped of the capacity you might 
otherwise have secured for performing those works 
of charity, which are so ornamental to a Christian 
profession, but, probably, will be under strong temp- 
tations to some low artifice, or mean compliance, 
quite beneath the Christian character, and that of an 
upright man. Many who once made a high profes- 
sion, after a series of such sorry and scandalous shifts, 
have fallen into the infamy of bankrupts, and of the 
worst kinds of bankrupts; I mean such as have 
lavished away on themselves what was indeed the 
property of others, and so have injured, and perhaps 
ruined, the industrious, to feed a foolish, luxurious, or 
ostentatious humour, which, while indulged, was the 
shame of their own families, and when it can be in- 
dulged no longer, is their torment. This will be a 
terrible reproach to religion: such a reproach to it, 
that a good man would rather choose to live on bread 
and water, or indeed to die for want of them, than to 
occasion it. 

4. Guard, therefore, I beseech you, against any 
thing which might tend that way, especially by dili- 
gence in business, and by prudence and frugality in 
expense; which, by the divine blessing, may have a 
very happy influence to make your affairs prosper- 
ous, your health vigorous, and your mind easy. But 
this cannot be attained without keeping a resolute 
watch over yourself, and strenuously refusing to 
comply with many proposals which indolence or sen- 
suality will offer in very plausible forms, and for 


which it will plead that it asks but very little. Take 
heed, lest, in this respect, you imitate those fond pa- 
rents, who, by indulging their children in every little 
thing they have a mind to, encourage them, by insen- 
sible degrees, to grow still more encroaching and im- 
perious in their demands; as if they chose to be ruin- 
ed with them, rather than to check them in what 
seems a trifle. Remember and consider that excel- 
lent remark, sealed by the ruin of so many thousands ; 
" He that despiseth small things, shall fall by little 
and little." 

5. In this view, give me leave also seriously and 
tenderly to caution you, my dear reader, against 
the snares of vain company. I speak not, as before, 
of that company, which is openly licentious and pro- 
fane. I hope there is something now in your temper 
and views which would engage you to turn away 
from such with detestation and horror. But I be- 
seech you to consider, that those companions may be 
very dangerous who might at first give you but very 
little alarm; I mean those, who, though not the de- 
clared enemies of religion, and professed followers of 
vice and disorder, yet nevertheless have no practical 
sense of divine things on their hearts, so far as can 
be judged by their conversation and behaviour. You 
must often of necessity be with such persons, and 
Christianity not only allows, but requires, that you 
should, on all expedient occasions of intercourse with 
them, treat them with civility and respect; but choose 
not such for your most intimate friends, and do not 
contrive to spend most of your leisure moments 
among them. For such converse has a sensible ten- 
dency to alienate the soul from God, and to render 
it unfit for all spiritual communion with him. To 
convince you of this, do but reflect on your own ex- 
perience, when you have been for many hours toge- 
ther among persons of such a character. Do you not 
find yourself more indisposed for devotional exer- 
cises? Do you not find your heart, by insensible de- 
grees, more and more inclined to a conformity to this 
world, and to look with a secret disrelish on those 


objects and employments to which reason directs as 
the noblest and the best? Observe the first symp- 
toms and guard against the snare in time : and, for 
this purpose endeavour to form friendships founded 
in piety, and supported by it. " Be a companion of 
them that fear God, and of them that keep his pre- 
cepts." Psal. cxix. 63. You well know, that in the 
sight of God "they are the excellent of the earth;" 
let them therefore "be all your delight," Psal. xvi. 3. 
And that the peculiar benefit of their friendship may 
not be lost, endeavour to make the best of the hours 
you spend with them. The wisest of men has ob- 
served, that when " counsel in the heart of a man is 
like deep waters," that is, when it lies low and con- 
cealed, " a man of understanding will draw it out," 
Prov. xx. 5. Endeavour, therefore, on such occa- 
sions, so far as you can do it with decency and con- 
venience, to give the conversation a religious turn. 
And when serious and useful subjects are started in 
your presence, lay hold of them, and cultivate them; 
and, for that purpose, " let the word of Christ dwell 
richly in you," Col. iii. 16, and be continually made 
"the man of your counsel." Psal. cxix. 24. 

6. If it be so, it will secure you, not only from the 
snares of idleness and luxury, but from the contagion 
of every bad example. And it will also engage you 
to guard against those excessive hurries of worldly 
business, which would fill up all your time and 
thoughts, and thereby choke the good word of God, 
and render it in a great measure, if not quite unfruit- 
ful, Matt. xiii. 22. Young people are generally of 
an enterprising disposition, having experienced com- 
paratively little of the fatigue of business, and of the 
disappointments and incumbrances of life, they easily 
swallow them upon, and annihilate them in their 
imagination, and fancy that their spirit, their appli- 
cation and address, will be able to encounter and sur- 
mount every obstacle or hinderance. But the event 
proves it otherwise. Let me entreat you, therefore, 
to be cautious how you plunge yourself into a greater 
variety of business than you are capable of managing 


as you ought, that is, in consistency with the care of 
your souls, and the service of God ; which certainly 
ought not on any pretence to be neglected. It is 
true, indeed, that a prudent regard to your worldly 
interest would require such a caution; as it is ob- 
vious to every careful observer, that multitudes are 
undone by grasping at more than they can conve- 
niently manage. Hence it has frequently been seen, 
that while they have seemed " resolved to be rich," 
they have " pierced themselves through with many 
sorrows," 1 Tim. vi. 10; have ruined their own fami- 
lies, and drawn down many others into desolation 
with them; whereas, could they have been contented 
with moderate employments, and moderate gains, 
they might have prospered in their business, and 
might, by sure degrees, under a divine blessing, have 
advanced to great and honourable increase. But if 
there were no danger at all to be apprehended on 
this head; if you were as certain of becoming rich 
and great, as you are of perplexing and fatiguing 
yourself in the attempt; consider, I beseech you, how 
precarious these enjoyments are. Consider how often 
a " plentiful table becomes a snare, and that which 
should have been for a man's welfare becomes a 
trap," Psal. lxix. 22. Forget not that short lesson, 
which is so comprehensive of the highest wisdom, 
« One thing is needful," Luke x. 42. Be daily think- 
ing, while the gay and great things of life are glitter- 
ing before your eyes, how soon death will come, and 
impoverish you at once; how soon it will strip you 
of all possessions but those which a naked soul can 
carry along with it into eternity, when it drops the 
body into the grave. Eternity! eternity! eter- 
nity! Carry the view of it about with you, if it be 
possible, through every hour of waking life; and be 
fully persuaded that you have no business, no inter- 
est in life, that is inconsistent with it : for whatsoever 
would be injurious in this view, is not your business, 
is not your interest. You see, indeed, that the gene- 
rality of men act as if they thought the great thing 
which God requires of them, in order to secure his 


favour, was to get as much of the world as possible ; 
at least, as much as they can without any gross 
immorality, and without risking the loss of all, for 
making a little addition. And, as if it were to abet 
this design, they tell others, and perhaps tell them- 
selves, they only seek opportunities of greater useful- 
ness, but, in effect, if they mean any thing more by 
this than a capacity of usefulness, which, when they 
have it, they will not exert, they generally deceive 
themselves; and one way or another, it is a vain pre- 
tence. In most instances men seek the world, either 
that they may hoard up riches for the mean and 
scandalous satisfaction of looking upon them while 
they are living, and of thinking, that when they are 
dead, it will be said of them, that they have left so 
many hundreds or thousands of pounds behind them : 
very probably to ensnare their children, or other 
heirs, for the vanity is not peculiar to those who 
have children of their own; or else that they may 
lavish away their riches on their lusts, and drown 
themselves in a gulf of sensuality, in which, if reason 
be not lost, religion is soon swallowed up, and with 
it all the noblest pleasures which can enter into the 
heart of man. In this view, the generality of rich 
people appear to me objects of much greater com- 
passion than the poor; especially as when both live 
(which is frequently the case) without any fear of 
God before their eyes, the rich abuse the greater 
variety and abundance of his favours, and therefore 
will probably feel in that world of future ruin which 
awaits impenitent sinners, a more exquisite sense of 
their misery. 

7. And let me observe to you, my dear reader, lest 
you should think yourself secure from any such dan- 
ger, that we have great reason to apprehend there 
are many now in a very wretched state, who once 
thought seriously of religion when they were first 
setting out, in lower circumstances of life, but they 
have since forsaken God for Mammon, and are now 
priding themselves in those golden chains, which, in 
all probability, before it be long, will leave them to 


remain in those of darkness. When, therefore, an 
attachment to the world may be followed with such 
fatal consequences, "let not thine heart envy sin- 
ners," Prov. xxiii. 17; and do not, out of a desire of 
gaining what they have, be guilty of such folly, as 
to expose yourself to this double danger of failing in 
the attempt, or of being undone by the success of it. 
Contract your desire : endeavour to be easy and con- 
tent with a little ; and if Providence call you out to 
act in a larger sphere, submit to it in obedience to 
Providence; but number it among the trials of life, 
which it will require a larger proportion of grace to 
bear well. For be assured, that as affairs and inter- 
ests multiply, cares and duties will certainly increase, 
and probably disappointments and sorrows will in- 
crease in an equal proportion. 

8. On the whole, learn by divine grace, to die to 
the present world; to look upon it as a low state of 
being, which God never intended for the final and 
complete happiness, or the supreme care, of any one 
of his children; a world where something is indeed 
to be enjoyed, but chiefly from himself; where a 
great deal is to be borne with patience and resigna- 
tion; and where some important duties are to be 
performed, and a course of discipline to be passed 
through, by which you are to be formed for a better 
state; to which, as a Christian, you are near, and to 
which God will call you, perhaps on a sudden, but 
undoubtedly, if you hold on your way, in the fittest 
time, and the most convenient manner. Refer, there- 
fore, all this to him. Let your hopes and fears, your 
expectations and desires, with regard to this world, 
be kept as low as possible ; and all your thoughts be 
united, as much as may be, in this one centre, What 
it is that God would, in present circumstances, have 
you to be; and what is that method of conduct by 
which you may most effectually please and glorify 



Blessed God ! in the midst of ten thousand snares 
and dangers which surround me from without and 
from within, permit me to look up unto thee with 
my humble entreaty, that thou wouldst "deliver me 
from them that rise up against me," Psal. lix. 1, and 
that " thine eyes may be upon me for good," Jer. 
xxiv. 6. When sloth and indolence are ready to 
seize me, awaken me from that idle dream, with live- 
ly and affectionate views of that invisible and eternal 
world to which I am tending. Remind me of what 
infinite importance it is that I diligently improve 
those transient moments which thou hast allotted me 
as the time of my preparation for it. 

When sinners entice me, may I not consent, Pro v. 
i. 10. May holy converse with God give me a dis- 
relish for the converse of those who are strangers to 
thee, and who would separate my soul from thee ! 
May " I honour them that fear the Lord," Psal. xv. 
4; and walking with such wise and holy men, may I 
find I am daily advancing in wisdom and holiness, 
Prov. xiii. Quicken me, Lord, by their means, 
that by me thou mayest also quicken others ! Make 
me the happy instrument of enkindling and anima- 
ting the flame of divine love in their breasts; and 
may it catch from heart to heart, and grow every 
moment in its progress. 

Guard me, Lord, from the love of sensual plea- 
sure. May I seriously remember, that " to be car- 
nally minded is death," Rom. viii. 6. May it please 
thee, therefore, to purify and refine my soul by the 
influences of thy Holy Spirit, that I may always shun 
unlawful gratifications more solicitously than others 
pursue them; and that those indulgences of animal 
nature, which thou hast allowed, and which the con- 
stitution of things renders necessary, may be soberly 
and moderately used. May I still remember the su- 
perior dignity of my spiritual and intelligent nature, 


and may the pleasures of the man and the Christian 
be sought as my noblest happiness. May my soul 
rise on the wings of holy contemplation to the regions 
of invisible glory, and may I be endeavouring to 
form myself, under the influences of divine grace, for 
the entertainments of those angelic spirits, that live 
in thy presence in a happy incapacity of those gross 
delights by which spirits dwelling in flesh are so 
often ensnared, and in which they so often lose the 
memory of their high original, and of those noble 
hopes which alone are proportionable to it. 

Give me, Lord, to know the station in which 
thou hast fixed me, and steadily to pursue the duties 
of it. But deliver me from those excessive cares of 
this world, which would so engross my time and my 
thoughts, that the one thing needful should be for- 
gotten. May my desires after worldly possessions 
be moderated, by considering their uncertain and 
unsatisfying nature, and while others are laying up 
treasures on earth, may I be " rich towards God," 
Luke xii. 21. May I never be too busy to attend to 
those great affairs which lie between thee and my 
soul ; never be so engrossed with the concerns of 
time, as to neglect the interests of eternity. May I 
pass through earth with my heart and hopes set upon 
heaven, and feel the attractive influence stronger and 
stronger, as I approach still nearer and nearer to that 
desirable centre; till the happy moment come, when 
every earthly object shall disappear from my view, 
and the shining glories of the heavenly world shall 
fill my improved and strengthened sight, which shall 
then be cheered with that which would now over- 
whelm me. Amen. 




Declensions in religion and relapses into sin, with their sorrowful 
consequences, are, in the general, too probable, 1. The cause of 
declension and languor in religion described, negatively, 2 ; and 
positively, 3; as discovering itself, (1.) By a failure in the duties 
of the closet, 4. (2.) By a neglect of social worship, 5. (3.) By 
want of love to our fellow-Christians, 6. (4.) By an undue attach- 
ment to sensual pleasures or secular cares, 7. (5.) By prejudices 
against some important principles in religion, 8 ; a symptom 
peculiarly sad and dangerous, 9, 10. Directions for recovery, 11, 
immediately to be pursued, 12. A prayer for one under spiritual 

1. If I am so happy as to prevail upon you in the 
exhortations and cautions I have given, you will pro- 
bably go on with pleasure and comfort in religion ; 
and your path will generally be " like the morning 
light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect 
day/' Prov. iv. 18. Yet I dare not natter myself 
with an expectation of such success as shall carry 
you above those varieties in temper, conduct and 
state, which have been more or less the complaint of 
the best of men. Much do I fear that, how warmly 
soever your heart may be now impressed with the 
representation I have been making, though the great 
objects of your faith and hope continue unchange- 
able, your temper towards them will be changed. 
Much do I fear that you will feel your mind lan- 
guish and tire in the good ways of God; nay, that 
you may be prevailed upon to take some step out 
of them, and may thus fall a prey to some of those 
temptations which you now look upon with a holy 
scorn. The probable consequence of this will be, 
that God will hide his face from you ; that he will 
stretch forth his afflicting hand against you; and that 
you will still see your sorrowful moments, how cheer- 
fully soever you may now be "rejoicing in the Lord, 
and joying in the God of your salvation," Hab. hi. 


18. I hope, therefore, it may be of some service, if 
this too probable event should happen, to consider 
these cases a little more particularly ; and I heartily 
pray that God would make what I shall say concern- 
ing them the means of restoring, comforting, and 
strengthening your soul, if he ever suffers you in any 
degree to deviate from him. 

2. We will first consider the case of spiritual de- 
clensions and languor in religion. And here I desire 
that before I proceed any further, you would observe, 
that I do not comprehend under this head, every 
abatement of that fervour which a young convert 
may find, when he first becomes experimentally 
acquainted with divine things. Our natures are so 
framed, that the novelty of objects strikes them in 
something of a peculiar manner; not to urge how 
much more easily our passions are impressed in the 
earlier years of life, than when we are more advanced 
in the journey of it. This, perhaps, is not sufficiently 
considered. Too great a stress is commonly laid on 
the flow of affections; and for want of this, a Chris- 
tian who is ripened in grace, and greatly advanced 
in his preparations for glory, may sometimes be ready 
to lament imaginary rather than real decays, and to 
say, without any just foundation, " that it were 
with me as in months past," Job xxix. 2. Therefore 
you can hardly be too frequently told, that religion 
consists chiefly " in the resolution of the will for God, 
and in a constant care to avoid whatever we are per- 
suaded he would disapprove, to despatch the work 
he has assigned us in life, and to promote his glory 
in the happiness of mankind." To this we are 
chiefly to attend, looking in all to the simplicity and 
purity of those motives from which we act, which 
we know are chiefly regarded by that God who 
searches the heart; humbling ourselves before him 
at the same time under a sense of our many imper- 
fections, and flying to the blood of Christ and the 
grace of the gospel. 

3. Having given this precaution, I will now a little 
more particularly describe the case which I call the 


state of a Christian who is declining in religion, so 
far as it does not fall in with those which I shall con- 
sider in the following chapters. And I must observe, 
that it chiefly consists " in a forgetfulness of divine 
objects, and a remissness in those various duties to 
which we stand engaged by that solemn surrender 
which we have made of ourselves to the service of 
God." There will be a variety of symptoms, accord- 
ing to the different circumstances and relations in 
which the Christian is placed ; but some will be of a 
more universal kind. It will be peculiarly proper to 
touch on these; and so much the rather, as these 
declensions are often unobserved, like the gray hairs 
which were upon Ephraim, when he knew it not, 
Hos. vii. 9. 

4. Should you, my good reader, fall into this state, 
it will probably first discover itself by a failure in the 
duties of the closet. Not that I suppose they will 
at first, or certainly conclude that they will at all, be 
wholly omitted, but they will be run over in a cold 
and formal manner. Sloth, or some of those other 
snares which I cautioned you against in the former 
chapter, will so far prevail upon you, that though 
perhaps you know and recollect that the proper 
season for retirement is come, you will sometimes 
indulge yourself upon your bed in the morning, 
sometimes in conversation or business in the evening, 
so as not to have convenient time for it ; or, perhaps, 
when you come into your closet at that season, some 
favourite book you are desirous to read, some cor- 
respondence that you choose to carry on, or some 
other amusement will present itself, and plead to be 
dispatched first. This will probably take up more 
time than you imagine ; and then secret prayer will 
be hurried over, and perhaps reading the Scripture 
quite neglected. You will plead, perhaps, that it is 
but for once ; but the same allowance will be made a 
second and a third time ; and it will grow more easy 
and familiar to you each time, than it was the last. 
And thus God will be mocked, and your own soul 
will be defrauded of its spiritual meals, if I may be 


allowed the expression; the word of God will be 
slighted, and self-examination quite disused; and 
secret prayer itself will grow a burden rather than a 
delight, and a trifling ceremony rather than a devout 
homage fit for the acceptance of our Father who is 
in heaven. 

5. If immediate and resolute measures be not 
taken for our recovery from these declensions, they 
will spread further, and reach the acts of social wor- 
ship. You will feel the effects in your family, and in 
public ordinances. And if you do not feel them, the 
symptoms will be so much the worse. Wandering 
thoughts will, as it were, eat out the very heart of 
these duties. It is not, I believe, the privilege of 
the most eminent Christians to be entirely free from 
them : but, probably, in these circumstances, you will 
find but few intervals of strict attention, or of any 
thing which wears the appearance of inward devo- 
tion. And when these heartless duties are conclu- 
ded, there will scarce be a reflection made how little 
God has been enjoyed in them, how little he has 
been honoured by them. Perhaps the sacrament of 
the Lord's Supper, being so admirably adapted to 
fix the attention of the soul, and to excite its warm- 
est exercise of holy affections, may be the last ordi- 
nance in which these declensions will be felt. And 
yet who can say that the sacred table is a privileged 
place ? Having been unnecessarily straitened in your 
preparations, you will attend with less fixedness and 
enlargement of heart than usual. And perhaps a 
dissatisfaction in the review, when there has been a 
remarkable alienation or insensibility of mind, may 
occasion a disposition to forsake your place and your 
duty there. And when your spiritual enemies have 
once gained this point over you, it is probable you 
will fall by swifter degrees than ever, and your 
resistance to their attempts will grow weaker and 

6. When your love to God our Father, and to the 
Lord Jesus Christ fails, your fervor of Christian affec- 
tion to your brethren in Christ will proportionably 


decline, and your concern for usefulness in life abate ; 
especially where any thing is to be done for spiritual 
edification. You will find one excuse or another for 
the neglect of religious discourse, perhaps not only 
among neighbours and Christian friends, when very 
convenient opportunities offer, but even with regard 
to those who are members of your own families, and 
to those who, if you are fixed in the superior rela- 
tions of life, are committed to your care. 

7. With this remissness an attachment either to 
sensual pleasure or to worldly business will increase. 
For the soul must have something to employ it, and 
something to delight itself in; and as it turns to one 
or the other of these, temptations of one sort or an- 
other will present themselves. In some instances, 
perhaps the strictest bounds of temperance, and the 
regular appointments of life, may be broken in upon 
through a fondness for company, and the entertain- 
ments which often attend it. In other instances, the 
interests of life appearing greater than they did be- 
fore, and taking up more of the mind, contrary inter- 
ests of other persons may throw you into disquietude, 
or plunge you in debate and contention; in which it 
is extremely difficult to preserve either the serenity 
or the innocence of the soul. And perhaps, if minis- 
ters and other Christian friends observe this, and en- 
deavour, in a plain and faithful way, to reduce you 
from your wandering, a false delicacy of mind, often 
contracted in such a state as this, will render these 
attempts extremely disagreeable. The ulcer of the 
soul (if I may be allowed the expression) will not 
bear being touched when it most needs it ; and one 
of the most generous and self-denying instances of 
Christian friendship shall be turned into an occasion 
of coldness and distaste, yea perhaps of enmity. 

S. And possibly, to sum up ail, this disordered state 
of mind may lead you into some prejudices against 
those very principles which might be most effectual 
for your recovery: and your great enemy may suc- 
ceed so far in his attempts against you as to persuade 
you that you have lost nothing in religion, when you 


have almost lost all. He may, very probably, lead 
you to conclude, that your former devotional frames 
were mere fits of enthusiasm; and that the holy re- 
gularity of your walk before God was an unnecessa- 
ry strictness and scrupulosity. Nay, you may think 
it a great improvement in understanding that you 
have learnt from some new matters, that if a man 
treat his fellow-creatures with humanity and good 
nature, judging and reviling only those who would 
disturb others by the narrowness of their notions (for 
these are generally exempted from other objects of 
the most universal and disinterested benevolence so 
often boasted of) he must necessarily be in a very 
good state, though he pretend not to converse much 
with God, provided that he think respectfully of 
him, and do not provoke him by any gross immoral- 

9. I mention this in the last stage of religious de- 
clensions, because I apprehend that to be its proper 
place; and I fear it will be found by experience to 
stand upon the very confines of that gross apostasy 
into deliberate and presumptuous sin, which will 
claim our consideration under the next head; and be- 
cause, too, it is that symptom which most effectually 
tends to prevent the success, and even the use, of any 
proper remedies, in consequence of a fond and fatal 
apprehension that they are needless. It is, if I may 
borrow the simile, like those fits of lethargic drowsi- 
ness which often precede apoplexies and death. 

10. It is by no means my design at this time to 
reckon up, much less to consider at large, those dan- 
gerous principles which are now ready to possess the 
mind, and to lay the foundation of a false and treach- 
erous peace. Indeed they are in different instances 
various, and sometimes run into opposite extremes; 
but if God awaken you to read your Bible with atten- 
tion, and give you to feel the Spirit with which it is 
written, almost every page will flash conviction upon 
the mind, and spread a light to scatter and disperse 
these shades of darkness. 

11. What I chiefly intend in this address, is to en- 


gage you, if possible, as soon as you perceive the first 
symptoms of these declensions, to be upon your guard, 
and to endeavour as speedily as possible to recover 
yourself from them. And I would remind you, that 
the remedy must begin where the first cause of com- 
plaint prevailed, I mean, in the closet. Take some 
time for recollection, and ask your own conscience 
seriously, How matters stand between the blessed 
God and your soul? Whether they are as they once 
were, and as you could wish them to be, if you saw 
your life just drawing to a period, and were to pass 
immediately into the eternal state? One serious 
thought of eternity shames a thousand vain excuses, 
with which, in the forgetfulness of it, we are ready 
to delude our own souls. And when you feel that 
secret misgiving of heart, which will naturally arise 
on this occasion, do not endeavour to palliate the 
matter, and to find out slight and artful coverings for 
what you cannot forbear secretly condemning; but 
honestly fall under the conviction, and be humbled 
for it. Pour out your heart before God, and seek 
the renewed influences of his Spirit and grace. Re- 
turn with exactness to secret devotion, and to self- 
examination. Read the Scripture with yet greater 
diligence, and especially the more devotional and spi- 
ritual parts of it. Labour to ground it in your heart, 
and to feel what you have reason to believe the sa- 
cred penmen felt when they wrote, so far as circum- 
stances may agree. Open your soul with all sim- 
plicity to every lesson which the word of God would 
teach you; and guard against those things which 
you perceive to alienate your mind from inward re- 
ligion, though there be nothing criminal in the things 
themselves. They may perhaps in the general be 
lawful; to some, possibly, they maybe expedient; 
but if they produce such an effect, as was mentioned 
above, it is certain, they are not convenient for you. 
In these circumstances, above all, seek the converse 
of those Christians whose progress in religion seems 
most remarkable, and who adorn their profession in 
the most amiable manner. Labour to obtain their 



temper and sentiments, and lay open your case and 
your heart to them with all the freedom which pru- 
dence will permit. Employ yourself at seasons of 
leisure in reading practical and devotional books, in 
which the mind and the heart of the pious author is 
transfused into the work, and in which you can (as 
it were,) taste the genuine spirit of Christianity. And, 
to conclude, take the first opportunity that presents 
itself of making an approach to the table of the Lord, 
and spare neither time nor pains in the most serious 
preparation for it. There renew your covenant with 
God; put your soul anew into the hand of Christ, 
and endeavour to view the wonders of his dying love 
in such a manner as may rekindle the languishing 
flame, and quicken you to more vigorous resolutions 
than ever, " to live unto him who died for you," 2 
Cor. v. 15. And watch over your own heart, that 
the good impressions you then felt may continue. 
Rest not till you have made greater progress than be- 
fore : for it is certain more is yet behind ; and it is 
only by a certain zeal to go forward that you can be 
secure from the danger of going backward, and of 
revolting more and more. 

12. I only add, that it is necessary to take these 
precautions as soon as posssible; or you will probably 
find a much swifter progress than you are aware in 
the down-hill road, and you may possibly be left of 
God to fall into some gross and aggravated sins, so 
as to fill your conscience with an agony and horror, 
which the pain of broken bones, Psal. li. 8, can but 
imperfectly express. 


Eternal and unchangeable Jehovah ! thy perfec- 
tions and glories are, like thy being, immutable; 
Jesus, thy Son, is " the same yesterday, to-day, 
and for ever," Heb. xiii. 8. The eternal world to 
which I am hastening is always equally important, 
and presses upon the attentive mind for a more fixed 
and solemn regard, in proportion to the degree in 


which it comes nearer and nearer. But, alas ! my 
views, and my affections, and my best resolutions, 
are continually varying, like this poor body, which 
goes through daily and hourly alterations in its state 
and circumstances. Whence, Lord, whence this 
sad change, which I now experience, in the frame 
and temper of my mind towards thee? Whence this 
alienation of my soul from thee? Why can I not 
come to thee with all the endearments of filial love 
as I once could? Why is thy service so remissly 
attended, if attended at all? and why are the exer- 
cises of it, which were once my greatest pleasure, 
become a burden to me ? " Where, God, is the 
blessedness I once spake of," Gal. iv. 15, when my 
joy in thee as my heavenly Father was so conspicu- 
ous that strangers might have observed it; and when 
my heart did so overflow with love to thee, and with 
zeal for thy service, that it was matter of self-denial 
to me to limit and restrain the genuine expressions 
of those strong emotions of my soul, even where pru- 
dence and duty required it ? 

Alas, Lord, whither am I fallen ! Thine eye sees 
me still; but 0, how unlike what it once saw me! 
Cold and insensible as I am, I must blush on the re- 
flection. Thou " seest me in secret," Matt. vi. 6, and 
seest me, perhaps, often amusing myself with trifles 
in those seasons which I used solemnly to devote to 
thine immediate service. Thou seest me coming into 
thy presence as by constraint; and when I am before 
thee, so straitened in my spirit, that I hardly know 
what to say to thee, though thou art the God with 
whom I have to do, and though the keeping up an 
humble and dutiful correspondence with thee is be- 
yond all comparison the most important business of 
my life. And even when I am speaking to thee, 
with how much coldness and formality is it ! It is, 
perhaps, the work of the imagination, the labour of 
the lips; but where are those ardent desires, those 
intense breathings after God, which I once felt? 
Where is that pleasing repose in thee which I was 
once conscious of, as being near my divine rest, as 


being happy in that nearness, and resolving that, if 
possible, I would no more be removed from it? But, 
0, how far am I now removed! When these short 
devotions, if they may be called devotions, are over, 
in what long intervals do I forget thee, and appear 
so little animated with thy love, so little devoted to 
thy service, that a stranger might converse with me 
a considerable time without knowing that I had ever 
formed any acquaintance with thee, without discov- 
ering that I had so much as known or heard any 
thing of God. Thou callest me to thine house, 
Lord, on thine own day; but how heartless are my 
services there ! I offer thee no more than a carcase. 
My thoughts and affections are engrossed with other 
objects, while I " draw near thee with my mouth, 
and honour thee with my lips," Isa. xxix. 13. Thou 
callest me to thy table ; but my heart is so frozen, 
that it hardly melts even at the foot of the cross; 
hardly feels any efficacy in the blood of Jesus. 
wretched creature that I am ! Unworthy of being 
called thine ! unworthy of a place among thy chil- 
dren, or of the meanest situation in thy family; rather 
worthy to be cast out, to be forsaken, yea, to be 
utterly destroyed ! 

Is this, Lord, the service which I once promised, 
and which thou hast so many thousand reasons to 
expect? Are these the returns I am making for thy 
daily providential care, for the sacrifice of thy Son, 
for the communications of thy Spirit, for the pardon 
of my numberless aggravated sins, for the hopes, the 
undeserved and so often-forfeited hopes of eternal 
glory? Lord, I am ashamed to stand or to kneel 
before thee. But pity me, 1 beseech thee, and help 
me; for I am a pitiable object indeed! " My soul 
cleave th unto the dust," and lays itself as in the dust 
before thee; but 0, "quicken me according to thy 
word," Psal. cxix. 25. Let me trifle no longer, for 
I am upon the brink of a precipice. I am thinking 
of my ways; give me grace to turn my feet unto 
thy testimonies; to make haste without any further 
delay, that I may keep thy commandments, Psal. 


cxix. 59, 60. " Search me, Lord, and try me," 
Psal. cxxxix. 23. Go to the first root of this distem- 
per which spreads itself over my soul, and recover 
me from it. Represent sin unto me, Lord, I be- 
seech thee, that I may see it with abhorrence ; and 
represent the Lord Jesus Christ, to me in such a light, 
that I may " look upon him and mourn," Zech. xii. 
10, that I may look upon him and love. May I 
awake from this stupid lethargy into which I am 
sinking; and may Christ give me more abundant 
degrees of spiritual life and activity than I have ever 
yet received. And may I be so quickened and ani- 
mated by him, that I may more than recover the 
ground I have lost, and may make a more speedy 
and exemplary progress than in my best days I have 
ever yet done. Send down upon me, Lord, in a 
more rich and abundant effusion, thy good Spirit. 
May he dwell in me, as in a temple which he has 
consecrated to himself, 1 Cor. hi. 16; and while all 
the service is directed and governed by him, may 
holy and acceptable sacrifices be continually offered, 
Rom. xii. 1. May the incense be constant, and may 
it be fragrant. May the sacred fire burn and blaze 
perpetually, Lev. v. 13; and may none of its vessels 
ever be profaned, by being employed to an unholy 
or forbidden use. Amen. 

20 3 




Unthought of relapses may happen, 1, and bring- the soul into a 
miserable case, 2 ; yet the case is not desperate, 3. The backsli- 
der urged immediately to return, (1.) By deep humiliation before 
God for so aggravated an offence, 4. (2.) By renewed regards to 
the divine mercy in Christ, 5. (3.) By an open profession of re- 
pentance, where the crime has given public offence, 6. (4.) Falls 
to be reviewed for future caution, 7. The chapter concludes, 8. 
With a prayer for the use of one who has fallen into gross sins 
after religious resolutions and engagements. 

1. The declensions which I have described in the 
foregoing chapter, must be acknowledged worthy of 
deep lamentation: but happy will you be, my dear 
reader, if you never know, by experience, a circum- 
stance yet more melancholy than this. Perhaps, 
when you consider the view of things which you 
now have, you imagine that no considerations can 
ever bribe you, in any single instance, to act contrary 
to the present dictates or suggestions of your con- 
science, and of the Spirit of God as setting it on work. 
No : you think it would be better for you to die ; and 
you think rightly. But Peter thought and said so 
too : " Though I should die with thee, yet will I not 
deny thee," Matt. xxvi. 35; and yet after all, he fell; 
and therefore " be not high-minded, but fear," Rom. 
ix. 20. It is not impossible but you may fall into 
that very sin of which you imagine you are least in 
danger, or into that against which you have most 
solemnly resolved, and of which you have already- 
most bitterly repented. You may relapse into it 
again and again ; but 0, if you do, nay, if you should 
deliberately and presumptuously fall but once, how 
deep will it pierce your heart! how dear will you 
pay for all the pleasure with which the temptation 
has been baited! how will this separate between God 
and vou ! What a desolation, what a dreadful deso- 


lation will it spread over your soul ! it is grievous to 
think of it. Perhaps in such a state you may feel 
more agony and distress in your own conscience, 
when you come seriously to reflect, than you ever 
felt when you were first awakened and reclaimed; 
because the sin will be attended with some very 
high aggravations beyond those of your unregenerate 
state. I well knew the person that said, " The ago- 
nies of a sinner in the first pangs of his repentance 
were not to be mentioned on the same day with 
those of the backslider in heart, when he comes to 
be filled with his own way," Pro v. xiv. 14. 

2. Indeed it is enough to wound one's heart to 
think how yours will be wounded; how all your 
comforts, all your evidences, all your hopes, will be 
clouded; what thick darkness will spread itself on 
every side, so that neither sun, nor moon, nor stars 
will appear in your heaven. Your spiritual consola- 
tions will be gone ; and your temporal enjoyments 
will also be rendered tasteless and insipid. And if 
afflictions be sent, as they probably may, in order to 
reclaim you, a consciousness of guilt will sharpen 
and envenom the dart. Then will the enemy of your 
soul, with all his art and power, rise up against you, 
encouraged by your fall, and labouring to trample 
you down in utter hopeless ruin. He will persuade 
you that you are already undone beyond recovery : 
he will suggest that it signifies nothing to attempt it 
any more; for that every effort, every amendment, 
every act of repentance, will but make your case so 
much the worse, and plunge you lower and lower 
into hell. 

3. Thus will he endeavour by terrors to keep you 
from that sure remedy which yet remains. But yield 
not to him. Your case will indeed be sad; and if it 
be now your case, it is deplorably so ; and to rest in 
it would be still much worse. Your heart would be 
hardened yet more and more : and nothing could be 
expected but sudden and aggravated destruction. 
Yet, blessed be God, it is not quite hopeless. " Your 
wounds are corrupted because of your- foolishness," 


Psal. xxxviii. 5 ; but the gangrene is not incurable. 
" There is balm in Gilead, there is a Physician there/' 
Jer. viii. 22. Do not, therefore, render your condi- 
tion hopeless, by now saying, " There is no hope," 
Jer. ii. 25, and drawing a fatal argument from that 
false supposition for going after the idols you have 
loved. Let me address you in the language of God 
to his backsliding people, when they were ready to 
apprehend that to be their case, and to draw such a 
conclusion from it: " Only return unto me, saith the 
Lord," Jer. hi. 1,13. Cry for renewed grace; and, in 
the strength of it labour to return. Cry with David 
under the like guilt. " I have gone astray like a lost 
sheep, seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy com- 
mandments," Psal. cxix. 176; and that remembrance 
of them is, I hope, a token for good. But if thou ■ 
wilt return at all, do it immediately. Take not one 
step more in that fatal path to which thou hast turn- 
ed aside. Think not to add one sin more to the ac- 
count, and then to repent; as if it would be but the 
same thing on the whole. The second error may be 
worse than the first; it may make way for another and 
another, and draw on a terrible train of consequences 
beyond all you can now imagine. Make haste, there- 
fore, and do not delay. Escape and fly as for thy 
life, Gen. ix. 17, "before the dart strike through thy 
liver," Prov. vii. 23. " Give not sleep to thine eyes, 
nor slumber to thine eye-lids," Prov. vi. 4 : lie not 
down upon thy bed under unpardoned guilt, lest evil 
overtake thee, lest the sword of divine justice should 
smite thee; and, whilst thou proposest to return to- 
morrow, thou shouldst this night go and take posses- 
sion of hell. 

4. Return immediately ; and permit me to add, re- 
turn solemnly. Some very pious and excellent di- 
vines have expressed themselves upon this head in a 
manner which seems liable to dangerous abuse ; when 
they urge men after a fall " not to stay to survey the 
ground, nor consider how they came to be thrown 
down, but immediately to get up and renew the race." 
In slighter cases the advice is good : but when con- 


science has suffered such violent outrage, by the com- 
mission of known, wilful, and deliberate sin, (a case 
which one would hope should but seldom happen to 
those who have once sincerely entered on a religious 
course,) I can by no means think that either reason 
or Scripture encourages such a method. Especially 
would it be improper, if the action itself has been 
of so heinous a nature, that even to have fallen into 
it on the most sudden surprise of temptation, must 
greatly have ashamed, and terrified, and distressed 
the soul. Such an affair is dreadfully solemn, and 
should be treated accordingly. If this has been the 
sad case with you, my then unhappy reader, I would 
pity you, and mourn over you ; and would beseech 
you, as you tender your peace, your recovery, the 
health and the very life of your soul, that you would 
not loiter away an hour. Retire immediately for se- 
rious reflection. Break through other engagements 
and employments, unless they be such as you cannot 
in conscience delay for a few hours, which can sel- 
dom happen in the circumstances I now suppose. 
This is the one thing needful. Set yourself to it, 
therefore, as in the presence of God, and hear at large, 
patiently and humbly, what conscience has to say, 
though it chide and reproach severely. Yea, earnest- 
ly pray that God would speak to you by conscience, 
and make you more thoroughly to know and feel 
" what an evil and bitter thing it is, that you have 
"thus forsaken him/' Jer. ii. 19. Think of all the 
aggravating circumstances attending your offence, and 
especially those which arise from abused mercy and 
goodness ; which arise not only from your solemn 
vows and engagements to God, but from the views you 
have had of a Redeemer's love, sealed even in blood. 
And are these the returns? Was it not enough that 
Christ should have been thus injured by his ene- 
mies ? must he be " wounded in the house of his 
friends too?" Zech. xiii. 6. Were " you delivered to 
work such abominations as these," Jer. vii. 10. Did 
the blessed Jesus groan and die for you, that you 
might sin with boldness and freedom, that you might 


extract, as it were, the very spirit and essence of sin, 
and offend God to a height of ingratitude and base- 
ness which would otherwise have been in the nature 
of things impossible ! Oh, think how justly God might 
cast you out from his presence ! how justly he might 
number you among the most signal instances of his 
vengeance ! And think how " your heart would 
endure, or your hands be strong, if he would deal 
thus with you!" Ezek. xxii. 14. Alas! all your 
former experiences would enhance your sense of the 
ruin and misery that must be felt in an eternal banish- 
ment from the divine presence and favour. 

5. Indulge such reflections as these. Stand the 
humbling sight of your sins in such a view as this. 
The more odious and more painful it appears, the 
greater prospect there will be of your benefit by at- 
tending to it. But the matter is not to rest here. All 
these reflections are intended, not to grieve, but to 
cure ; and to grieve no more than may promote the 
cure. You are indeed to look upon sin ; but you are 
also, in such circumstances, if ever, " to look upon 
Christ: to look upon him whom you have now 
pierced" deeper than before, and to mourn for him 
with sincerity and tenderness, Zech. xii. 10. — The 
God whom you have injured and affronted, whose 
laws you have broken, and whose justice you have, 
as it were, challenged by this foolish wretched apos- 
tasy, is nevertheless " a most merciful God," Deut. 
iv. 31. You cannot be so ready to return to him, as 
he is ready to receive you. Even now does he, as it 
were, solicit a reconciliation by those tender impres- 
sions which he is making upon your heart. But re- 
member how he will be reconciled. It is in the very 
same way in which you made your first approaches 
to him in the name, and for the sake of his dear Son. 
Come, therefore, in an humble dependence upon him. 
Renew your application to Jesus, that his blood may, 
as it were, be sprinkled upon your soul, that your 
soul may thereby be purified, and your guilt removed. 
This very sin of yours which the blessed God fore- 
saw, increased the weight of your Redeemer's suffer- 


ings : it was concerned in shedding his blood. Humbly 
go, and place your wounds, as it were, under the drop- 
pings of that precious balm by which alone they can 
be healed. That compassionate Saviour will delight 
to restore you, when you lie as an humble suppliant 
at his feet, and will graciously take part with you in 
that peace and pleasure which he gives. Through 
him renew your covenant with God, that broken 
covenant, the breach of which divine justice might 
teach you to know "by terrible things in righteous- 
ness," Psal. lxv. 5; but mercy allows of an accom- 
modation. Let the consciousness and remembrance 
of the breach engage you to enter into a covenant 
anew, under a deeper sense than ever of your own 
weakness, and a more cordial dependence on divine 
grace for your security, than you have ever yet enter- 
tained. I know you will be ashamed to present your- 
self among the children of God in his sanctuary, and 
especially at his table, under a consciousness of so 
much guilt; but break through that shame, if Provi- 
dence open you the way. You would be humbled 
before your offended Father; but surely there is no 
place where you are more likely to be humbled, than 
when you see yourself in his house; and no ordi- 
nance administered there can lay you lower than that 
in which " Christ is evidently set forth as crucified 
before your eyes," Gal. hi. 1. Sinners are the on]y 
persons who have business there; the best of men 
come to that sacred table as sinners; as such make 
your approach to it; yea, as the greatest of sinners-, 
as one who needs the blood of Jesus as much as any 
creature upon earth. 

6. And let me remind you of one thing more. If 
your fall has been of such a nature as to give any 
scandal to others, be not at all concerned to save 
appearances, and to moderate those mortifications 
which deep humiliation before them would occasion. 
The depth and pain of that mortification is indeed an 
excellent medicine, which God has in his wise good- 
ness appointed for you in such circumstances as these. 
In such a case, confess your fault with the greatest 


frankness ; aggravate it to the utmost ; entreat pardon 
and prayer from those whom you have offended. 
Then, and never till then, will you be in the way to 
peace : not by palliating a fault, not by making vain 
excuses, not by objecting to the manner in which 
others may have treated you; as if the least excess 
of rigour in a faithful admonition were a crime equal 
to some great immorality that occasioned it. This 
can only proceed from the madness of pride and self- 
love : it is the sensibility of a wound which is har- 
dened, swelled and inflamed; and it must be reduced 
and cooled, and suppled, before it can possibly be 
cured. To be censured and condemned by men, 
will be but a little grievance to a soul thoroughly 
humbled and broken under a sense of having incur- 
red the condemning sentence of God. Such a one 
will rather desire to glorify God, by submitting to de- 
served blame ; and will fear deceiving others into a 
more favourable opinion of himself than he inwardly 
knows himself to deserve. These are the sentiments 
which God gives to the sincere penitent in such a 
case ; and by this means he restores him to that credit 
and regard among others, which he does not know 
how to seek; but which, nevertheless, for the sake 
both of his comfort and usefulness, God wills that he 
should have; and which it is, humanly speaking, 
impossible for him to recover any other way. But 
there is something so honourable in the frank ac- 
knowledgment of a fault, and in deep humiliation for 
it, that all who see it must needs approve it. They 
pity an offender who is brought to such a disposition, 
and endeavour to comfort him with returning ex- 
pressions, not only of their love, but of their esteem 

7. Excuse this digression, which may suit some 
cases; and which would suit many more, if a regular 
discipline were to be exercised in churches; for on 
such a supposition, the Lord's Supper could not be 
approached after visible and scandalous falls, without 
solemn confession of the offence, and declarations of 
repentance. On the other hand, there may be in- 


stances of sad apostasy, where the crime, though 
highly aggravated before God, may not fall under 
human notice. In this case, remember, that your 
business is with him to whose piercing eye every 
thing appears in its just light; before him, therefore, 
prostrate your souls and seek a solemn reconciliation 
with him, confirmed by the memorials of his dying 
Son. And when this is done, imagine not, that be- 
cause you have received the tokens of pardon, the 
guilt of your apostasy is to be forgot at once. Bear 
it still in your memory for future caution: lament it 
before God in the frequent returns of secret devotion 
especially; and view with humiliation the scars of 
those wounds which your own folly occasioned, even 
when by divine grace they are thoroughly healed. 
For God establishes his covenant, not to remove the 
sense of every past abomination, but " that thou 
mayest remember thy ways, and be confounded, and 
never open thy mouth any more because of thy 
shame, even when I am pacified towards thee for all 
that thou hast done, saith the Lord," Ezek. xvi. 63. 
S. And now, upon the whole, if you desire to 
attain such a temper, and to return by such steps as 
these, then immediately fall down before God, and 
pour out your heart in his presence, in language like 


most holy, holy, holy, Lord God ! when I seri- 
ously reflect on thy spotless purity, and on the strict 
and impartial methods of thy steady administration, 
together with that almighty power of thine, which 
is able to carry every thought of thine heart into im- 
mediate and full execution, I may justly appear be- 
fore thee this day with shame and terror, in confusion 
and consternation of spirit. This day, my God, 
this dark mournful day, would I take occasion to 
look back to that sad source of our guilt and our 
misery, the apostasy of our common parents, and 


say, with thine offending servant David, " Behold, 
I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother 
conceive me," Psal. li. 5. This day would I lament 
all the fatal consequences of such a descent with re- 
gard to myself. And, 0, how many have they been! 
The remembrance of the sins of my unconverted 
state, and the failings and infirmities of my after life, 
may justly confound me. How much more such a 
scene as now lies before my conscience, and before 
thine all-seeing eye ! For " thou, Lord, knowest 
my foolishness, and my sins are not hid from thee," 
Psal. lxix. 5. " Thou tellest all my wanderings from 
thy statutes," Psal. lvi. 8; thou seest, and thou re- 
cordest, every instance of my disobedience to thee, 
and of my rebellion against thee; thou seest it in 
every aggravated circumstance which I can discern, 
and in many more which I have never observed or 
reflected upon. How then shall I " appear in thy 
presence, or lift up my face to thee," Ezra ix. 6. 
" I am full of confusion," Job x. 15, and feel a secret 
regret in the thought of applying to thee ; but, " 
Lord, to whom should I go but unto thee?" John 
vi. 68; unto thee, on whom depends my life or my 
death: unto thee, who alone canst take away that 
burden of guilt which now presses me down to the 
dust: who alone canst restore to my soul that rest 
and peace which I have lost, and which I deserve 
for ever to lose. 

Behold me, Lord God, falling down at thy feet. 
Behold me, pleading guilty in thy presence, and 
surrendering myself to that justice which I cannot 
escape. I have not one word to offer in my own 
vindication, in my own excuse. Words, far from 
being able to clear up my innocence, can never suffi- 
ciently describe the enormity and demerit of my sin. 
Thou, Lord, and thou only, knowest to the full, 
how heinous and how aggravated it is. Thine 
infinite understanding alone can fathom the infinite 
depth of its malignity. I am, on many accounts, 
most unable to do it. I cannot conceive the glory of 
thy sacred majesty, whose authority I have despised, 


nor the number and variety of those mercies which 
I have sinned against. I cannot conceive the value 
of the blood of thy dear Son, which I have ungrate- 
fully trampled under my feet ; nor the dignity of that 
blessed Spirit of thine, whose agency I have, as far 
as I could, been endeavouring to oppose, and whose 
work I have been, as with all my might, labouring 
to undo, and to tear up, as it were, that plantation 
of his grace, which I should rather have been willing 
to have guarded with my life, and watered with my 
blood. the baseness and madness of my conduct! 
that I should thus, as it were, rend open the wounds 
of my soul, of which I had died long ere this, had not 
thine own hand applied a remedy, had not thine only 
Son bled to prepare it! — that I should violate the 
covenant that I have " made with thee by sacrifice," 
Psal. 1. 5, by the memorials of such a sacrifice too, 
even of Jesus Christ my Lord, whereby I am be- 
come "guilty of his body and blood," 1 Cor. xi. 
27; — that I should bring such dishonour upon reli- 
gion too, by so unsuitable a walk, and perhaps open 
the mouths of its greatest enemies, to insult it upon 
my account, and prejudice some against it to their 
everlasting destruction ! 

I wonder, Lord God, that I am here to own all 
this. I wonder that thou hast not long ago appeared 
"as a swift witness against me:" Mai. hi. 5: that 
thou hast not discharged the thunderbolts of thy 
naming wrath against me, and crushed me into hell: 
making me there a terror to all about me as well as 
to myself, by a vengeance and ruin, to be distin- 
guished even there, where all are miserable, and all 

God, thy patience is marvellous, but how much 
more marvellous is thy grace, which, after all this, 
invites me to thee ! While I am here giving judg- 
ment against myself that I deserve to die, to die for 
ever, thou art sending me the words of everlasting 
life, and " calling me, as a backsliding child, to return 
unto thee," Jer. iii. 22. Behold, therefore, Lord, 
invited by thy word, and encouraged by thy grace, 


I come ; and, great as my transgressions are, I hum- 
bly beseech thee freely to pardon them ; because I 
know, that though my " sins have reached unto hea- 
ven," Rev. xviii. 5, and " are lifted up even to the 
skies," Jer. li. 9, " thy mercy, Lord, is above the 
heavens," Psal. cviii. 4. Extend thy mercy to me, 
heavenly Father; and display, in this illustrious 
instance, the riches of thy grace, and the prevalency 
of thy Son's blood. For surely, if such crimson 
sins as mine may be made " white as snow, and as 
wool," Isa. i. 18, and if such a revolter as I am, be 
brought to eternal glory, earth must, so far as it is 
known, be filled with wonder, and heaven with 
praise : and the greatest sinner may cheerfully apply 
for pardon, if I, the chief of sinners, find it. And, 
O, that when I have lain mourning, and, as it were, 
bleeding at thy feet, as long as thou thinkest proper, 
thou wouldst at length heal this soul of mine which 
hath sinned against thee, Psal. xli. 4, and " give me 
beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the 
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Isa. 
lxi. 3. that thou wouldst at length " restore unto 
me the joy of thy salvation, and make me to hear 
songs of gladness, that the bones which thou hast 
broken may yet rejoice," Psal. li. 8, 12. Then, when 
a sense of thy forgiving love is shed abroad upon my 
heart, and it is cheered with the voice of pardon, I 
will proclaim thy grace to others ; " I will teach trans- 
gressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted 
unto thee:" Psal. li. 13; those that have been back- 
sliding from thee shall be encouraged to seek thee by 
my happy experience, which I shall gladly proclaim 
for thy glory, though it be to my own shame and 
confusion of face. And may this "joy of the Lord 
be my strength," Neh. viii. 10. So that in it I may 
serve thee henceforward with vigour and zeal far 
beyond what I have hitherto known! 

This I would ask, with all humble submission to 
thy will; for I presume not to insist upon it. If thou 
shouldst see fit to make me a warning to others, by 
appointing that I should walk all my days in dark- 


ness, and at last die under a cloud, " thy will be done." 
But, God, extend mercy for thy Son's sake, to this 
sinful soul at last; and give me some place, though it 
were at the feet of all thine other servants in the re- 
gions of glory! bring me at length, though it 
should be through the gloomiest valley that any have 
ever passed, into that blessed world where I shall de- 
part from God no more ; where I shall wound my 
own conscience and dishonour thy holy name no 
more. Then shall my tongue be loosed, how long 
soever it might here be bound under the confusion of 
guilt; and immortal praises shall be paid to that vic- 
torious blood, which has redeemed such an infamous 
slave of sin, as I must acknowledge myself to be, 
and brought me, from returns into bondage and re- 
peated pollution, to share the dignity and holiness of 
those who are kings and priests unto God, Rev. i. 6. 


god's FACE. 

The phrase scriptural, 1. It signifies the withdrawing the tokens 
of the divine favour, 2 ; chiefly as to spiritual considerations, 3. 
This may become the case of any Christian, 4; and will be found 
a very sorrowful one, 5. The following directions, therefore, are 
given to those who suppose it to be their own: — I. To inquire 
whether it be indeed a case of spiritual distress, or whether a dis- 
consolate frame may not proceed from indisposition of body, 6; or 
difficulties as to worldly circumstances, 7. If it be found to be 
indeed such as the title of the chapter proposes, be advised. II. 
To consider it as a merciful dispensation of God, to awaken and 
bestir the soul, and excite to a strict examination of conscience 
and reformation of what has been amiss, 8, 9. III. To be humble 
and patient while the trial continues, 10. IV. To go on steadily 
in the way of duty, 11. V. To renew a believing application to 
the blood of Jesus, 12. An humble supplication for one under 
these mournful exercises of mind, when they are found to proceed 
from the spiritual cause supposed. 

1. There is a case which often occurs in the Christ- 
ian life, which they who accustom themselves much 



to the exercise of devotion, have been used to call 
hidings of God's face. It is a phrase borrowed from 
the word of God, which I hope may shelter it from 
contempt at the first hearing. It will be my business 
in this chapter to state it as plainly as I can, and then 
to give some advice as to your own conduct when 
you fall into it, as it is very probable you may, before 
you have finished your journey through this wilder- 

2. The meaning of it may partly be understood by 
the opposite phrase of God's causing his face to 
shine upon a person, or lifting upon him the light 
of his countenance. This seems to carry in it an 
allusion to the pleasant and delightful appearance 
which the face of a friend has, and especially if in a 
superior relation of life, when he converses with those 
whom he loves and delights in. Thus Job, when 
speaking of the regard paid him by his attendants, 
says, "If I smiled upon them, they believed it not, 
and the light of my countenance they cast not down;" 
Job xxix. 24, that is, they were careful, in such an 
agreeable circumstance, to do nothing to displease 
me, or (as we speak) to cloud my brow. And 
David, when expressing his desire of the manifes- 
tation of God's favour to him, says, " Lord, lift thou 
up the light of thy countenance upon me; 77 and, as 
the effect of it, declares, " thou hast put gladness into 
my heart more than if corn and wine increased/' 
Psal. iv. 6, 7. Nor is it impossible that, in this phrase, 
as used by David, there may be some allusion to the 
bright shining forth of the Shechinah, that is, the 
lustre which dwelt in the cloud as the visible sign of 
the divine presence with Israel, which God was 
pleased peculiarly to manifest upon some public occa- 
sions, as a token of his favour and acceptance. — On 
the other hand, therefore, for God to hide his face, 
must imply his withholding the tokens of his favour, 
and must "be esteemed a mark of his displeasure. 
Thus Isaiah uses it; " Your iniquities have separated 
between you and your God, and your sins have hid 
his face from you, that he will not hear," Isa. lix. 2. 


And again, " Thou hast hid thy face from us," as 
not regarding the calamities we suffer, " and hast 
consumed us, because of our iniquities, 3 ' Isa. lxiv. 7. 
So likewise for God " to hide his face from our sins," 
Psal. li. 9, signifies to overlook them, and to take no 
further notice of them. The same idea is, at other 
times, expressed by " God's hiding his eyes," Isa. i. 
15, from persons of a character disagreeable to him, 
when they come to address him with their petitions, 
not vouchsafing, as it were, to look towards them. 
This is plainly the scriptural sense of the word; and 
agreeably to this, it is generally used by Christians 
in our day, and every thing which seems a token 
of divine displeasure towards them is expressed 
by it. 

3. It is further to be observed here, that the things 
which they judge to be manifestations of divine fa- 
vour towards them, or complacency in them, are not 
only, nor chiefly, of a temporal nature, or such as 
merely relate to the blessings of this animal and pe- 
rishing life. David, though the promises of the law 
had a continual reference to such, yet was taught to 
look further, and describes them as preferable to, and 
therefore plainly distinct from " the blessings of the 
corn-floor, or the wine-press." Psal. iv. 7. And if 
you, whom I am now addressing, do not know 
them to be so, it is plain you are quite ignorant of 
the subject we are inquiring into, and indeed have 
yet to learn the first lessons of true religion. All that 
David says of " beholding the beauty of the Lord," 
Psal. xxvii. 4, or being " satisfied as with marrow 
and fatness, when he remembered him upon his bed," 
Psal. lxiii. 5, 6, as well as " with the goodness of his 
house, even of his holy temple," Psal. lxv. 4, is to 
be taken in the same sense, and can need very little 
explication to the truly experienced soul. But those 
that have known the light of God's countenance, and 
the shinings of his face, will, in proportion to the de- 
gree of that knowledge, be able to form some notion 
of the hiding of his face, or the withdrawing of the 
tokens he has given his people of his presence and 


favour, which sometimes greatly embitters prosperity ; 
as where the contrary is found, it sweetens afflictions, 
and often swallows up the sense of it. 

4. And give me leave to remind you, my Chris- 
tian friend (for under that character I now address 
my reader) that to be thus deprived of the sense of 
God's love, and of the tokens of his favour, may soon 
be the case with you, though you may now have the 
pleasure to see " the candle of the Lord shining upon 
you," or though it may even seem to be sunshine and 
high noon in your soul. You may lose your lively 
views of the divine perfections, and glories, in the 
contemplation of which you now find that inward 
satisfaction. You may think of the divine wisdom 
and power, of the divine mercy and fidelity, as well 
as of his righteousness and holiness, and feel little 
inward complacency of soul in the view ; it may be 
with respect to any lively impression, as if it were 
the contemplation merely of a common object. It 
may seem to you as if you had lost all idea of those 
important words, though the view has sometimes 
swallowed up your whole soul in transports of admi- 
ration, astonishment and love. You may lose your 
delightful sense of the divine favour. It may be 
matter of great and sad doubt with you, whether 
you do indeed belong to God; and all the work of his 
blessed Spirit may be so veiled and shaded in the soul, 
that the peculiar characters by which the hand of that 
sacred Agent might be distinguished, shall be in a 
great measure lost; and you may be ready to ima- 
gine you have only deluded yourself in all the former 
hopes you have entertained. In consequence of this, 
those ordinances, in which you now rejoice, may 
grow very uncomfortable to you, even when you do 
indeed desire communion with God in them. You 
may hear the most delightful evangelical truths open- 
ed, you may hear the privileges of God's children 
most affectionately represented, and not be aware 
that you have any part or lot in the matter; and from 
that very coldness and insensibility, may be drawing 
a further argument, that you have nothing to do with 


them. And then your heart may meditate terror; 
Isa. xxxiii. 18; and under the distress that over- 
whelms you, your dearest enjoyments may be reflect- 
ed upon as adding to the weight of it, and making it 
more sensible, while you consider that you had once 
such a taste for these things, and have now lost it all. 
So that perhaps it may seem to you, that they who 
never felt any thing at all of religious impressions, 
are happier than you, or at least are less miserable. 
You may perhaps, in these melancholy hours, even 
doubt whether you have ever prayed at all; and 
whether all that you called your enjoyment of God 
were not some false delight, excited by the great 
enemy of souls, to make you apprehend that your 
state was good, that so you might continue his more 
secure prey. 

5. Such as this may be your case for a consider- 
able time; and ordinances may be attended in vain, 
and the presence of God may be in vain sought in 
them. You may pour out your soul in private, and 
then come to public worship, and find little satisfac- 
tion in either ; but be forced to take up the Psalmist's 
complaint; "My God, I cry in the day-time, but thou 
hearest not; and in the night-season, and am not 
silent;" Psal. xxii. 2, or that of Job, "Behold, I go 
forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I 
cannot perceive him; on the left hand where he doth 
work, but I cannot behold him; he hideth himself 
on the right hand that I cannot see him:" Job xxiii. 
9. So that all which looked like religion in your 
mind shall seem, as it were, to be melted into grief, 
or chilled into fear, or crushed into a deep sense of 
your own un worthiness ; in consequence of which 
you shall not dare so much as to lift up your eyes 
before God, and be almost ashamed to take your 
place in a worshipping assembly among any that you 
think his servants. I have known this to be the case 
of some excellent Christians, whose improvements in 
religion have been distinguished, and whom God has 
honoured above many of their brethren in what he 
has done for them, and by them. Give me leave, 


therefore, having thus described it, to offer you some 
plain advices with regard to it; and let not that be 
imputed to enthusiastic fancy which proceeds from 
an intimate and frequent view of facts on the one 
hand, and from a sincere affectionate desire on the 
other, to relieve the tender pious heart in so desolate 
a state. At least, I am persuaded the attempt will 
not be overlooked or disapproved by " the great Shep- 
herd of the sheep," Heb. xiii. 20, who hath charged 
us to "comfort the feeble minded," 1 Thess. v. 14. 

6. And here I would first advise you most care- 
fully to inquire whether your present distress does 
indeed arise from causes which are truly spiritual; or 
whether it may not rather have its foundation in some 
disorder of body, or in the circumstances of life, in 
which you are providentially placed, which may 
break your spirits, and deject your mind? The in- 
fluence of the inferior part of our nature on the 
nobler, the immortal spirit, while we continue in this 
embodied state, is so evident, that no attentive per- 
son can, in the general, fail to have observed it; 
and yet there are cases in which it seems not to be 
sufficiently considered; and perhaps your own may 
be one of them. The state of the nerves is often such 
as necessarily to suggest gloomy ideas even in dreams, 
and to indispose the soul for taking pleasure in any 
thing: and when it is so, why should it be imagined 
to proceed from any peculiar divine displeasure, if it 
does not find its usual delight in religion? or why 
should God be thought to have departed from us, be- 
cause he suffers natural causes to produce natural ef- 
fects, without interposing by miracle to break the con- 
nexion ? When this is the case, the help of the phy- 
sician is to be sought rather than that of the divine, 
or, at least, by all means, together with it; and medi- 
cine, diet, exercise, and air, may, in a few weeks, 
effect that which the strongest reasonings, the most 
pathetic exhortations or consolations, might for many 
months have attempted in vain. 

7. In other instances, the dejection and feebleness 
of the mind may arise from something uncomfortable 


in our worldly circumstances ; these may cloud as well 
as distract the thoughts, and embitter the temper, and 
thus render us in a great degree unfit for religious 
services or pleasures; and when it is so, the remedy 
is to be sought in submission to divine Providence ; 
in abstracting our affections, as far as possible, from 
the present world; in a prudent care to ease ourselves 
of the burden, so far as we can, by moderating un- 
necessary expenses, and by diligent application to 
business in humble dependence on the divine bless- 
ing; in the mean time, endeavouring by faith to look 
up to him, who sometimes suffers his children to be 
brought into such difficulties, that he may endear 
himself more sensibly to them by the method he 
shall take for their relief. 

8. On the principles here laid down, it may per- 
haps appear, on inquiry, that the distress complained 
of may have a foundation very different from what 
was at first supposed. But where the health is sound, 
and the circumstances easy ; when the animal spirits 
are disposed for gaiety and entertainment, while all 
taste for religious pleasure is in a manner gone ; when 
the soul is seized with a kind of lethargic insensibi- 
lity, or, what I had almost called a paralytic weak- 
ness, with respect to every religious exercise, even 
though there should not be that deep terrifying dis- 
tress, or pungent amazement, which I before repre- 
sented as the effect of melancholy; nor that anxiety 
about the accommodations of life, which strait cir- 
cumstances naturally produce : I would in that case 
vary my advice, and urge you, with all possible at- 
tention and impartiality, to search into the cause 
which has brought upon you that great evil, under 
which you justly mourn. And probably, in the ge- 
neral, the cause is sin; some secret sin, which has 
not been discovered or observed by the eye of the 
world; for enormities that draw on them the obser- 
vation and censure of others, will probably fall under 
the case mentioned in the former chapter, as they 
must be instances of known and deliberate guilt. 
Now, the eye of God has seen these evils which have 


escaped the notice of your fellow creatures; and, in 
consequence of this care to conceal them from others, 
while you could not but know they were open to 
him, God has seen himself in a peculiar manner af- 
fronted and injured, I had almost said, insulted, by 
them; and hence his righteous displeasure. 0! let 
that never be forgotten, which is so plainly said, so 
commonly known, so familiar to almost every reli- 
gious ear, yet too little felt by any of our hearts. 
"Your iniquities have separated between you and 
your God, and your sins have hid his face from you 
that he will not hear," Isa. lix. 1, 2. And this is, 
on the whole, a merciful dispensation of God, though 
it may seem severe ; regard it not, therefore, merely 
as your calamity, but as intended to awaken you, that 
you may not content yourself even with lying in 
tears of humiliation before the Lord, but, like Joshua, 
rise and exert yourself vigorously to put away from 
you that accursed thing, whatever it be. Let this 
be your immediate and earnest care that your pride 
may be humbled, that your watchfulness may be 
maintained, that your affections to the world may be 
deadened, and that, on the whole, your fitness for 
heaven may in every respect be increased. These 
are the designs of your heavenly Father, and let it be 
your great concern to co-operate with them. 

9. Receive it therefore, on the whole, as the most 
important advice that can be given you, " immediate- 
ly to enter on a strict examination of your con- 
science." — Attend to its gentlest whispers. If a sus- 
picion arises in your mind that any thing has not 
been right, trace that suspicion, search into every 
secret folding of your heart, improve to the purposes 
of a fuller discovery, the advice of your friends, the 
reproaches of your enemies: recollect for what your 
heart has smitten you at the table of the Lord ; for 
what it would smite you if you were upon a dying 
bed, and within this hour to enter on eternity. When 
you have made any discovery, note it down, and go 
on in your search till you can say, " These are the 
remaining corruptions of my heart; these are the sins 


and follies of my life ; this have T neglected ; this have I 
done amiss." And when the account is as complete as 
you can make it. set yourself, in the strength of God, 
to a strenuous reformation of every thing that seems 
amiss as soon as ever you discover it; " Return to the 
Aimighty, and thou shalt be built up, and put iniquity 
far from thy tabernacle ; then shalt thou have thy de- 
light in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto 
God. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he 
shall hear thee ; thou shalt pay thy vows unto him, and 
his light shall shine upon thy ways," Job xxii. 23, 

10. In the mean time, be waiting for God with the 
deepest humility, and submit yourself to the discipline 
of your heavenly Father, acknowledging his justice, 
and hoping in his mercy; even when your conscience 
is least severe in its remonstrances, and discovers 
nothing more than the common infirmities of God's 
people ; yet still bow yourself down before him, and 
own, that so many are the evils of your best days, so 
many the imperfections of your best services, that by 
them you have deserved all, and more than all, that 
you surfer : deserved, not only that your sun should 
be clouded, but that it should go down, and arise no 
more, but leave your soul in a state of everlasting 
darkness. And while the shade continues, be not 
impatient. Fret not yourself in any wise, but rather 
with a holy calmness and gentleness of soul, "wait 
on the Lord," Psal. xxxvii. 8, 34. Be willing to stay 
his time, willing to bear his frown, in humble hope 
that he will at length " return and have compassion 
on you," Jer. xii. 15. He " has not utterly forgotten 
to be gracious, nor resolved that he will be favour- 
able no more," Psal. lxxvii. 7, 9. " For the Lord 
will not cast off for ever; but though he cause grief, 
yet will he have compassion according to the multi- 
tude of his mercies," Lam. hi. 31, 32. It is compa- 
ratively but for a small moment that he hides his 
face from you; but you may humbly hope, that with 
great mercies he will gather you, and that with ever- 
lasting kindness he will have mercy on you, Isa. liv. 


7, 8. These suitable words are not mine, but his; 
and they wear this as in the very front of them, 
" That a soul under the hidings of God's face may at 
least be one whom he will gather, and to whom he 
will extend everlasting favour." 

11. But while the darkness continues, "go on in 
the way of your duty." Continue the use of means 
and ordinances: read, and meditate: pray, yea, and 
sing the praises of God too, though it may be with a 
heavy heart. Follow " the footsteps of his flock," 
Cant. i. 8 ; you may perhaps meet " the Shepherd of 
souls" in doing it. Place yourself at least in his 
way. It is possible you may by this means get a 
kind look from him; and one look, one turn of 
thought, which may happen in a moment, may, as it 
were, create a heaven in your soul at once. Go to 
the table of the Lord. If you cannot rejoice, go and 
mourn there. " Go and mourn that Saviour, whom 
by your sins you have pierced," Zech. xii. 10; go 
and lament the breaches of that covenant, which you 
have there so often confirmed. Christ may, perhaps, 
" make himself known unto you in the breaking of 
bread," Luke xxiv. 35; and you may find, to your 
surprise, that he has been near you, when you ima- 
gined he was at the greatest distance from you ; near 
you, when you thought you were cast out from his 
presence. Seek your comfort in such enjoyments as 
these, and not in the vain amusements of this world, 
and in the pleasures of sense. I shall never forget 
that affectionate expression, which I am well assured 
broke out from an eminently pious heart, then almost 
ready to break under its sorrows of this kind : " Lord, 
if I may not enjoy thee, let me enjoy nothing else; 
but go down mourning after thee to the grave!" I 
wondered not to hear, that almost as soon as this 
sentiment had been breathed out before God in pray- 
er, the burden was taken off, and the joy of God's 
salvation restored. 

12. I shall add but one advice more, and that is, 
" That you renew your application to the blood of 
Jesus, through whom the reconciliation between God 


and your soul has been accomplished." It is he that 
is our peace, and by his blood it is that we are made 
nigh, Eph. ii. 13, 14; it is in him, as the Beloved of 
his soul, that God declares he is well pleased, Matt, 
hi. 17; and it is in him that we are made accepted, 
to the glory of his grace, Eph. i. 6. Go, therefore, 
Christian, and apply by faith to a crucified Saviour: 
go, and apply to him as to a merciful High Priest, 
"and pour out thy complaint before him, and show 
before him thy trouble," Psal. cxlii. 2. Lay open 
the distress and anguish of thy soul to him, who once 
knew what it was to say, (0 astonishing! that he of 
all others should ever have said it,) " My God, my 
God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matt, xxvii. 46. 
Look up for pity and relief to him, who himself suf- 
fered, being not only tempted, but with regard to 
sensible manifestations, deserted, that he might thus 
know how to pity those that are in such a melan- 
choly case, and be ready, as well as " able, to suc- 
cour them," Heb. ii. 18. He is "Emmanuel, God 
with us," Matt. i. 23; and it is only in and through 
him, that his Father shines forth upon us with the 
mildest beams of mercy and of love. Let it be, there- 
fore, your immediate care to renew your acquaint- 
ance with him. Review the records of his life and 
death: hear his words: behold his actions: and when 
you do so, surely you will find a secret sweetness 
diffusing itself over your soul. You will be brought 
into a calm, gentle, silent frame, in which faith and 
love will operate powerfully, and God may probably 
cause the still small voice of his comforting Spirit to 
be heard, 1 Kings xix. 12, till your soul bursts out 
into a song of praise, and you may be " made glad, 
according to the days in which you have been af- 
flicted," Psal. xc. 15. In the mean time, such lan- 
guage as the following supplication speaks, may be 



Blesssed God ! " with thee is the fountain of life," 
Psal. xxxvi. 9, and of happiness. I adore thy name, 
that I have ever tasted of thy streams ; that I have 
ever felt the peculiar pleasure arising from the light 
of thy countenance, and the shedding abroad of thy 
love in my soul. But, alas! these delightful seasons 
are now to me no more ; and the " remembrance of 
them engages me to pour out my soul within me," 
Psal. xlii. 4. I would come, as I have formerly 
done, and call thee, with the same endearment, my 
Father and my God: but, alas! I know not how to 
do it. Guilt and fears arise, and forbid the delightful 
language. I seek thee, Lord, but I seek thee in 
vain. I would pray, but my lips are sealed up. I 
would read thy word, but all the promises of it are 
veiled from mine eyes. I frequent those ordinances, 
which have been formerly most nourishing and com- 
fortable to my soul ; but, alas ! they are only the sha- 
dows of ordinances : the substance is gone : the ani- 
mating spirit is fled, and leaves them now at best but 
the image of what I once knew them. 

But, Lord, " hast thou cast off for ever, and wilt 
thou be favourable no more?" Psal. lxxvii. 7. Hast 
thou in awful judgment determined that my soul 
must be left to a perpetual winter, the sad emblem 
of eternal darkness? Indeed, I deserve it should be 
so. I acknowledge, Lord, I deserve to be cast 
away from thy presence with disdain; to be sunk 
lower than I am, much lower: I deserve to have the 
"shadow of death upon mine eyelids," Job xvi. 16, 
and even to be surrounded with the thick gloom of 
the infernal prison. But hast thou not raised multi- 
tudes, who have deserved, like me, " to be delivered 
into chains of darkness," 2 Pet. ii. 4, to the visions 
of thy glory above, where no cloud can ever inter- 
pose between thee and their rejoicing spirits? " Have 
mercy upon me, Lord, have mercy upon me," 
Psal. cxxiii. 3 ; and though mine iniquities have now 


justly " caused thee to hide thy face from me," Isa. 
lix. 2, yet be thou rather pleased, agreeably to the 
gracious language of thy word, to " hide thy face 
from my sins, and to blot out all mine iniquities," 
Psal. li. 9. Cheer my heart with the tokens of thy 
returning favour, and " say unto my soul, I am thy 
salvation," Psal. xxxv. 3. 

Remember, Lord God, remember that dreadful 
day in which Jesus thy dear Son endured what my 
sins have deserved ! Remember that agony, in which 
he poured out his soul before thee, and said, " My 
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matt, 
xxvii. 46. Did he not, Lord, endure all this, that 
humble penitents might through him be brought near 
unto thee, and might behold thee with pleasure, as 
their Father and their God? Thus do I desire to 
come unto thee, blessed Saviour; art thou not ap- 
pointed " to give unto them that mourn in Zion beau- 
ty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the gar- 
ment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," Isa. lxi. 
3. — wash away my tears, anoint my head with 
the oil of gladness, and clothe me with the garments 
of salvation, Isa. lxi. 10. 

" that I knew where I might find thee," Job 
xxiii. 3. — that I knew what it is that has engaged 
thee to depart from me ! I am " searching and try- 
ing my ways," Lam. hi. 40. that thou wouldst 
" search me, and know my heart: try me, and know 
my thoughts ; and if there be any wicked way in me, 
discover it, and lead me in the way everlasting," 
Psal. cxxxix. 23, 24, in that way in which I may find 
rest and peace for my soul, Jer. vi. 16, and feel the 
discoveries of thy love in Christ! 

God, " who didst command the light to shine 
out of darkness," 2 Cor. iv. 6, speak but the word, 
and light shall dart into my soul at once ! " Open thou 
my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise," 
Psal. li. 15, shall burst out into a cheerful song, which 
shall display before those whom my present dejections 
may have discouraged, the pleasures and supports of 



Yet, Lord, on the whole, I submit to thy will. If 
it is thus that my faith must be exercised, by walking 
in darkness for days, and months, and years to come, 
how long soever they may seem, how long soever 
they may be, I will submit. Still will I adore thee 
as " the God of Israel, and the Saviour, though thou 
art a God that hidest thyself," Isa. xiv. 15 ; still will 
"I trust in the name of the Lord, and stay myself 
upon my God," Isa. 1. 10, "trusting in thee, though 
thou slay me," Job xiii. 15, and " waiting for thee 
more than they that watch for the morning, yea, 
more than they that watch for the morning," Psal. 
cxxx. 6. Peradventure " in the evening time it may 
be light," Zech. xiv. 7. I know that thou hast some- 
times manifested thy compassions to thy dying ser- 
vants, and given them, in the lowest ebb of their na- 
tural spirits, a full tide of divine glory, thus turning 
"darkness into light before them," Isa. xlii. 16. So 
may it please thee to gild the valley of the shadow 
of death with the light of thy presence, when I am 
passing through it, and to stretch forth " thy rod and 
thy staff to comfort me," Psal. xxiii. 4, that my trem- 
blings may cease, and the gloom may echo with songs 
of praise ! But if it be thy sovereign pleasure that 
distress and darkness should still continue to the last 
motion of my pulse, and the last gasp of my breath, 
let it cease with the parting struggle and bring me 
to that " light which is sown for the righteous, and to 
that gladness which is reserved for the upright in 
heart," Psal. xcvii. 11, to the unclouded regions of 
everlasting splendour and joy, where the full anoint- 
ings of the Spirit shall be poured out on all thy peo- 
ple, and thou wilt no more " hide thy face from any 
of them!" Ezek. xxxix. 29. 

This, " Lord, is thy salvation, for which I am wait- 
ing," Gen. xlix. 18, and whilst I feel the desires of 
my soul drawn out after it, I will never despair of 
obtaining it. Continue and increase those desires, 
and at length satisfy and exceed them all, " through 
the riches of thy grace in Christ Jesus!" Amen. 




Here it is advised, (1.) That afflictions should be expected, 1. (2.) 
That the righteous hand of God should be acknowledged in them 
when they come, 2. (3.) That they should be borne with patience, 
3. (4.) That the divine conduct in them should be cordially ap- 
proved, 4. (5.) That thankfulness should be maintained in the 
midst of trials, 5. (6.) That the design of afflictions should be 
diligently inquired into, and all proper assistance taken in disco- 
vering it, 6, (7.) That when it is discovered, it should humbly be 
complied with and answered, 7. A prayer suited to such a case. 

1. Since "man is born unto trouble as the sparks 
fly upward," Job v. 7, and Adam has entailed on 
all his race the sad inheritance of calamity in their 
way to death, it will certainly be prudent and neces- 
sary that we should all expect to meet with trials and 
afflictions; and that you, reader, whoever you are, 
should be endeavouring to gird on your armour, and 
put yourself into a posture to encounter those trials 
which will fall to your lot as a man, and a Christian. 
Prepare yourself to receive your afflictions, and to 
endure them, in a manner agreeable to both those 
characters. In this view, when you see others under 
the burden, consider how possible it is that you may 
be called out to the very same difficulties, or to others 
equal to them. Put your soul as in the place of theirs. 
Think how you could endure the load under which 
they lie ; and endeavour at once to comfort them, and 
to strengthen your own heart; or rather, pray that 
God would do it. And observing how liable mortal 
life is to such sorrows, moderate your expectations 
from it; raise your thoughts above it; and form your 
schemes of happiness only for that world where they 
cannot be disappointed: in the mean time, blessing 
God, that your prosperity is lengthened out thus far, 
and ascribing it to his special providence that you 
continue so long unwounded, when so many showers 


of arrows are flying around you, and so many are 
falling by them on the right hand and on the left. 

2. When at length your turn comes, as it certainly 
will, from the first hour in which an affliction seizes 
you, realize to yourself the hand of God in it, and 
lose not the view of him in any second cause, which 
may have proved the immediate occasion. Let it be 
your first care " to humble yourself under the mighty 
hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time," 1 
Pet. v. 6. Own, that " he is just in all that is brought 
upon you," Neh. ix. 33, and " that in all these things 
he punishes you less than your iniquities deserve," 
Ezra ix. 13. Compose yourself to bear his hand with 
patience, to glorify his name by a submission to his 
will, and to fall in with the gracious design of this 
visitation, as well as to wait the issue of it quietly, 
whatever the event may be. 

3. Now that " patience may have its perfect work," 
James i. 4, reflect frequently and deeply upon your 
own meanness and sinfulness. Consider how often 
every mercy has been forfeited, and every judgment 
deserved. And consider too, how long the patience 
of God has borne with you, and how wonderfully it 
is still exerted towards you; and, indeed, not only his 
patience, but his bounty too. Afflicted as you are, 
(for I speak to you now as actually under the pres- 
sure,) look round and survey your remaining mercies, 
and be gratefully sensible of them. Make the sup- 
position of their being removed: what if God should 
stretch out his hand against you, and add poverty to 
pain, or pain to poverty, or the loss of friends to both ; 
or the death of surviving friends to that of those whom 
you are now mourning over; would not the wound 
be more grievous? * Adore his goodness that this is 
not the case: and take heed, lest your un thankfulness 
should provoke him to multiply your sorrows. Con- 
sider also the need you have of discipline ; how 
wholesome it may prove to your soul, and what mer- 
ciful designs our heavenly Father has in all the cor- 
rections he sends upon his children. 

4. Nay, I will add that, in consequence of all these 


considerations, it may well be expected, not only that 
you should submit to your afflictions, as what you 
cannot avoid, but that you should sweetly acquiesce 
in them, approve them; that you should not only 
justify, but glorify God, in sending them; that you 
should glorify him with your heart, and with your 
lips too. Think not praise unsuitable on such an 
occasion ; nor think that praise alone to be suitable 
which takes its rise from remaining comforts: but 
know that it is your duty, not only to be thankful 
in your afflictions, but to be thankful on account of 

5. God himself has said, " In every thing give 
thanks;" 1 Thess. v. 18, and he has taught his ser- 
vants to say, "Yea also we glory in tribulation," 
Rom. v. 3. And most certain it is, that to true be- 
lievers they are instances of divine mercy ; for " whom 
the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every 
son whom he receiveth" with peculiar and distin- 
guishing endearment, Heb. xii. 6. View your pre- 
sent afflictions in this light as chastisements of love ; 
and then let your own heart say, whether love does 
not demand praise. Think with yourself, it is thus 
that God is making me conformable to his own Son ; 
it is thus that he is training me up for complete glory. 
Thus he kills my corruptions; thus he strengthens 
my graces; thus he is wisely contriving to bring me 
nearer to himself, and to ripen me for the honours of 
his heavenly kingdom. It is "if need be," that I am 
in heaviness; 1 Pet. i. 6, and he surely knows what 
that need is better than I can pretend to teach him; 
and knows what peculiar propriety there is in this 
affliction to answer my present necessity, and do me 
that peculiar good which he is graciously intending 
me by it. " This tribulation shall work patience, 
and patience experience, and experience a more as- 
sured hope; even a hope which shall not make 
ashamed, while the love of God is shed abroad in 
my heart," Rom. v. 3, 4, 5, and shines through my 
affliction like the sun through a gently descending 


cloud, darting in light upon the shade, and mingling 
fruitfulness with weeping. 

6. Let it be then your earnest care, while you thus 
look on your affliction, whatever it may he, as coming 
from the hand of God, to improve it to the purposes 
for which it was sent. And that you may so im- 
prove it, let it be your first concern to know what 
those purposes are. Summon up all the attention of 
your soul to " hear the rod, and him who hath ap- 
pointed it;" Mic. vi. 9, and pray earnestly that you 
may understand its voice. Examine your life, your 
words, and your heart ; and pray, that God would so 
guide your inquiries, that you may return unto the 
Lord that smiteth you, Isa. ix. 13. To assist you 
in this, call in the help of pious friends, and particu- 
larly of your minister: entreat not only their prayers 
but their advices too, as to the probable design of 
Providence ; and encourage them freely to tell you 
any thing which occurs to their minds upon this head. 
And if such an occasion should lead them to touch 
upon some of the imperfections of your character and 
conduct, look upon it as a great token of their friend- 
ship, and take it not only patiently but thankfully. 
It does but ill become a Christian at any time to re- 
sent reproofs and admonitions, and least of all does 
it become him when the rebukes of his heavenly 
Father are upon him : he ought rather to seek admo- 
nitions at such a time as this, and voluntarily to 
offer his wounds to be searched by a faithful and 
skilful hand. 

7. And when, by one means or another, you have 
got a ray of light to direct you in the meaning and 
language of such dispensations, take heed that you 
do not in any degree, "harden yourself against God, 
and walk contrary to him," Lev. xxvi. 27. Obstinate 
reluctance to the apprehended design of any provi- 
dential stroke is inexpressibly provoking to him. Set 
yourself therefore to an immediate reformation of 
whatever you discover amiss; and labour to learn 
the general lessons of greater submission to God's 


will, of a more calm indifference to the world, and 
of a closer attachment to divine converse, and to the 
views of an approaching invisible state. And what- 
ever particular proportion or correspondence you may- 
observe between this or that circumstance in your 
affliction and your former transgressions, be especial- 
ly careful to act according to that more peculiar and 
express voice of the rod. Then you may perhaps 
have speedy and remarkable reason to say, that " it 
hath been good for you, that you have been afflict- 
ed ;" Psal. cxix. 71, and, with a multitude of others, 
may learn to number the times of your sharpest 
trials, among the sweetest and the most exalted mo- 
ments of your life. For this purpose, let prayer be 
your frequent employment; and let such sentiments 
as these, if not in the very same terms, be often and 
affectionately poured out before God. 


thou supreme, yet all-righteous and gracious 
Governor of the whole universe ! Mean and incon- 
siderable as this little province of thy spacious em- 
pire may appear, thou dost not disregard the earth 
and its inhabitants: but attendest to its concerns with 
the most condescending and gracious regard. " Thou 
reignest, and I rejoice in it," as it is indeed matter 
of universal joy, Psal. xcvii. 1. I believe thy uni- 
versal providence and care ; and I firmly believe thy 
wise, holy, and kind interposition in every thing 
which relates to me, and to the circumstances of my 
abode in this thy world. I would look through ail 
inferior causes unto thee, whose eyes are upon all 
thy creatures ; to thee " who formest the light, and 
createst darkness, who makest peace, and createst 
evil;" Isa. xlv. 7, to thee, Lord, who, at thy plea- 
sure, canst exchange the one for the other, canst turn 
the brightest noon into midnight, and the darkest 
midnight into noon. 


thou wise and merciful Governor of the world! 
I have often said " Thy will be done :" and now thy 
will is painful to me. But shall I, upon that account, 
unsay what I have so often said? God forbid. I come 
rather to lay myself down at thy feet, and to declare 
my full and free submission to all thy sacred plea- 
sure. Lord, thou art just and righteous in all ! I 
acknowledge, in thy venerable and awful presence, 
that I have deserved this, and ten thousand times 
more; Ezra ix. 13. I acknowledge, that "it is of thy 
mercy that I am not utterly consumed," Lam. iii. 22, 
and that any the least degree of comfort yet remains. 
Lord, I most readily confess, that the sins of one 
day of my life have merited all these chastisements; 
and that every day of my life hath been more or 
less sinful. Smite therefore, thou righteous Judge ! 
and I will still adore thee, that instead of the scourge, 
thou hast not given a commission to the sword, to do 
all the dreadful work of justice, and to pour out my 
blood in thy presence. 

But shall I speak unto thee only as my Judge ? 
Lord, thou hast taught me a tender name : thou con- 
descendest to call thyself my Father, and to speak 
of correction as the effect of thy love. welcome, 
welcome, those afflictions which are the tokens of 
thy paternal affection, the marks of my adoption into 
thy family ! Thou knowest what discipline I need ; 
thou seest, Lord, that bundle of folly which there 
is in the heart of thy poor, froward and thoughtless 
child; and knowest what rods, and what strokes are 
needful to drive it away. I would therefore " be in 
humble subjection to the Father of spirits," who 
"chasteneth me for my profit;" would be in sub- 
jection to him, and live, Heb. xii. 9, 10. I would 
bear thy strokes, not merely because I cannot resist 
them, but because I love and trust in thee. I would 
sweetly acquiesce and rest in thy will, as well as 
stoop to it; and would say, " Good is the word of the 
Lord," 2 Kings xx. 1 9. And I desire, that not only my 
lips but my soul may acquiesce. Yea, Lord, I would 
praise thee, that thou wilt show so much regard to 


me as to apply such remedies as these to the diseases 
of my mind, and art thus kindly careful to train me up 
for glory. I have no objection against being afflict- 
ed, against being afflicted in this particular way; 
" The cup which my Father puts into my mine hand, 
shall I not drink it?" John xviii. 11. By thine assist- 
ance and support I will. Only be pleased, Lord, 
to stand by me, and sometimes to grant me a favour- 
able look in the midst of my sufferings. Support my 
soul, I beseech thee, by thy consolations mingled 
with my tribulations; and I shall glory in those tri- 
bulations that are thus allayed. It has been the 
experience of many who have reflected on afflicted 
days with pleasure, and have acknowledged that 
their comforts have swallowed up their sorrows. 
And after all that thou hast done, " are thy mercies 
restrained?" Isa. Ixiii. 15. "Is thy hand waxed short?" 
Numb. xi. 23, or canst thou not still do the same for 
me ? 

If my heart be less tender, less sensible, thou canst 
cure that disorder, and canst make this affliction the 
means of curing it. Thus let it be ; and at length, 
in thine own due time, and in the way which thou 
shalt choose, work out. deliverance for me ; and " show 
me thy marvellous loving kindness, thou that savest 
by thy right hand them that put their trust in thee," 
Psal. xvii. 7. For I well know, that how dark so- 
ever this night of affliction seems, if thou sayest, 
" Let there be light, there shall be light." But I 
would urge nothing before the time thy wisdom and 
goodness shall appoint. I am much more concerned 
that my afflictions may be sanctified than that they 
may be removed. Number me, God, among the 
" happy persons, whom" whilst " thou chastenest," 
thou " teachest out of thy law !" Psal. xciv. 12. Show 
me, I beseech thee, " wherefore thou contendest with 
me;" Job x. 2, and purify me by the fire, which is 
so painful to me while I am passing through it! Dost 
thou not " chasten thy children" for this very end, 
"that they may be partakers of thy holiness!" 
Heb. xii. 10. Thou knowest, God, it is this my 



soul is breathing after. lam partaker of thy bounty 
every day and moment of my life; I am partaker of 
thy gospel, and, I hope, in some measure too, a par- 
taker of the grace of it operating on my heart. 
may it operate more and more, that I may largely 
partake of thine holiness too ; that I may come near- 
er and nearer in the temper of my mind to thee, 
blessed God, the supreme model of perfection. Let 
my soul be, as it were, melted, though with the in- 
tensest heat of the furnace, if I may but thereby be 
made fit for being delivered into the mould of the 
gospel, and bearing thy bright and amiable image ! 

Lord " my soul longeth for thee ; it crieth out 
for the living God!" Psal. Ixxxiv. 2. In thy pre- 
sence, and under the support of thy love, I can bear 
any thing; and am willing to bear it, if I may grow 
more lovely in thine eyes, and more meet for thy 
kingdom. The days of my affliction will have an 
end; the hour will at length come, when " thou wilt 
wipe away all my tears," Rev. xxi. 4. Though it 
tarry, I would "wait for it," Heb. ii. 3. My foolish 
heart, in the midst of all its trials, is ready to grow 
fond of this earth, disappointing and grievous as it 
is : and graciously, God, dost thou deal with me in 
breaking those bonds that would tie me faster to it. 
let my soul be girding itself up, and, as it were, 
stretching its wings, in expectation of that blessed 
hour, when it shall drop all its sorrows and incum- 
brances at once, and soar away to expatiate with 
infinite delight in the regions of liberty, peace, and 
joy ! Amen. 




The examination important, 1. False marks of growth to be avoid- 
ed, 2. True marks proposed: such as, (1.) Increasing love to 
God, 3. (2.) Benevolence to men, 4. (3.) Candour of disposi- 
tion, 5. (4.) Meekness under injuries, 6. (5.) Serenity amidst 
the uncertainties of life, 7. (6.) Humility, 8, especially as ex- 
pressed in evangelical exercises of mind towards Christ and the 
Spirit, 9. (7.) Zeal for the divine honour, 10. (8.) Habitual and 
cheerful willingness to exchange worlds, whenever God shall ap- 
point, 11. Conclusion, 12. The Christian breathing after growth 
in grace. 

1. If by divine grace you have been "born again, 
not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible," 1 Pet. 
i. 2, 3, even " by that word of God, which liveth and 
abideth for ever," not only in the world, and in the 
church, but in particular souls in which it is sown ; 
you will, " as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk 
of the word, that you may grow thereby," 1 Pet. ii. 

2. And though, in the most advanced state of reli- 
gion on earth, we are but infants in comparison of 
what we hope to be, when in the heavenly world we 
arrive " unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the 
stature of the fulness of Christ;" Eph. iv. 13, yet, as 
we have some exercise of a sanctified reason, we 
shall be solicitous that we may be growing and 
thriving. And you, my reader, if " so be that you 
have tasted that the Lord is gracious," 1 Pet. ii. 3, 
will, I doubt not, feel this solicitude. I would 
therefore endeavour to assist you in making the in- 
quiry, whether religion be on the advance in your 
soul. And here I shall warn you against some false 
marks of growth ; and then shall endeavour to lay 
down others on which you may depend as more 
solid. — In this view, I would observe, that you are 
not to measure your growth in grace only, or chiefly, 
by your advances in knowledge, or in zeal, or any 



other passionate impression of the mind; no, nor by 
the fervour of devotion alone; but by the habitual de- 
termination of the will for God, and by your prevail- 
ing disposition to obey his commands, to submit to 
his disposal, and to promote his cause in the world. 

2. It must be allowed, that knowledge and affec- 
tion in religion are indeed desirable. Without some 
degree of the former, religion cannot be rational; and 
it is very reasonable to believe, that Avithout some de- 
gree of the latter it cannot be sincere, in creatures 
whose natures are constituted like ours. Yet there 
may be a great deal of speculative knowledge, and 
a great deal of rapturous affection, where there 
is no true religion at all; and therefore much more, 
where there is no advanced state of it. — The ex- 
ercise of our rational faculties upon the evidences 
of divine revelation, and upon the declaration of it 
as contained in Scripture, may furnish a very wicked 
man with a well-digested body of orthodox divinity 
in his head, when not one single doctrine of it has 
ever reached his heart. An eloquent description of 
the sufferings of Christ, of the solemnities of judg- 
ment, of the joys of the blessed, and the miseries of 
the damned, might move the breast even of a man 
who did not firmly believe them; as we often find 
ourselves strongly moved by well-wrought narrations, 
or discourses, which at the same time, we know to 
have their foundation in fiction. Natural constitu- 
tion, or such accidental causes as are, some of them, 
too low to be here mentioned, may supply the eyes 
with a flood of tears, which may discharge itself 
plenteously upon almost any occasion that shall first 
arise. And a proud impatience of contradiction, di- 
rectly opposite as it is to the gentle spirit of Chris- 
tianity, may make a man's blood boil when he hears 
the notions he has entertained, and especially those 
which he has openly and vigorously espoused, dis- 
puted and opposed. This may possibly lead him, in 
terms of strong indignation, to pour out his zeal and 
his rage before God in a fond conceit, that, as the 
God of truth, he is the patron of those favourite doc- 


trines, by whose fair appearances perhaps he himself 
is misled. — And if these speculative refinements, or 
these affectionate sallies of the mind, be consistent 
with a total absence of true religion, they are much 
more evidently consistent with a very low state of 
it. I would desire to lead you, my friend, into sub- 
limer notions and juster marks: and refer you to other 
practical writers, and, above all, to the book of God, 
to prove how material they are. I would therefore 
entreat you to bring your own heart to answer, as in 
the presence of God, to such inquiries as these : 

3. Do you find "divine love, on the whole, ad- 
vancing in your soul?" — Do you feel yourself more 
and more sensible of the presence of God? and does 
that sense grow more delightful to you than it for- 
merly was? Can you, even when your natural spi- 
rits are weak and low, and you are not in any frame 
for the ardours and ecstasies of devotion, neverthe- 
less find a pleasing rest, a calm repose of heart, in the 
thought that God is near you, and that he sees the 
secret sentiments of your soul, while you are, as it 
were, labouring up the hill, and casting a longing eye 
towards him, though you cannot say you enjoy any 
sensible communications from him? Is it agreeable 
to you to open your heart to his inspection and re- 
gard? to present it to him laid bare of every disguise, 
and to say with David, " Thou, Lord, knowest thy 
servant?' 7 2 Sam. vii. 20. Do you find a growing 
esteem and approbation of that sacred law of God, 
which is the transcript of his moral perfections? Do 
you inwardly " esteem all his precepts concerning all 
things to be right?" Ps. cxix. 128. Do you discern, 
not only the necessity, but the reasonableness, the 
beauty, the pleasure, of obedience; and feel a grow- 
ing scorn ahd contempt for those things which may 
be offered as the price of your innocence, and would 
tempt you to sacrifice or to hazard your interest in the 
divine favour and friendship? Do you find an ingen- 
uous desire to please God, not only because he is so 
powerful, and has so many good, and so many evil 
things entirely at his command, but from a veneration 



of his most amiable nature and character; and do you 
find your heart habitually reconciled to a most humble 
subjection, both to his commanding and to his dispo- 
sing will ? Do you perceive that your own will is now 
more ready and disposed in every circumstance, to 
bear the yoke, and to submit to the divine determina- 
tion, whatever he appoints to be borne or forborne? 
Can you " in patience possess your soul?" Luke xxi. 
19. Can you maintain a more steady calmness and 
serenity when God is striking at your dearest enjoy- 
ments in this world, and acting most directly contrary 
to your present interests, to your natural passions and 
desires ? If you can, it is a most certain and noble 
sign that grace is growing up in you to a very vigor- 
ous state. 

4. Examine also, "what affections you find in your 
heart towards those who are round about you, and 
towards the rest of mankind in general."— Do you 
find your heart overflow with unassembled and un- 
restrained benevolence? Are you more sensible than 
you once were of those many endearing bonds which 
unite all men, and especially all Christians, into one 
community; which make them brethren and fellow- 
citizens? Do all the unfriendly passions die and 
wither in your soul, while the kind social affections 
grow and strengthen? And though self-love was 
never the reigning passion since you became a true 
Christian, yet as some remainders of it are still too 
ready to work inwardly, and to show themselves, 
especially as sudden occasions arise, do you per- 
ceive that you get ground of them ? Do you think 
of yourself only as one of a great number, whose 
particular interests and concerns are of little import- 
ance when compared with those of the community, 
and ought by all means, on all occasions'to be sacri- 
ficed to them? 

5. Reflect especially " on the temper of your mind 
towards those whom an unsanctified heart might be 
ready to imagine it had some just excuse for except- 
ing out of the list of those it loves, and towards whom 
you are ready to feel a secret aversion, or at least an 


alienation from them." — How does your mind stand 
affected towards those who differ from you in their 
religious sentiments and practices? I do not say that 
Christian charity will require you to think every error 
harmless. It argues no want of love to a friend in 
some cases to fear lest his disorder should prove 
more fatal than he seems to imagine; nay, sometimes 
the very tenderness of friendship may increase that 
apprehension. But to hate persons because we think 
they are mistaken, and to aggravate every difference 
in judgment or practice, into a fatal and damnable 
error, that destroys all Christian communion and love, 
is a symptom generally much worse than the evil it 
condemns. Do you love the image of Christ in a 
person who thinks himself obliged in conscience to 
profess and worship in a manner different from your- 
self? Nay further, can you love and honour that 
which is truly amiable and excellent in those in whom 
much is defective ; in those in whom there is a mix- 
ture of bigotry and narrowness of spirit, which may 
lead them perhaps to slight, or even to censure you? 
Can you love them as the disciples and servants of 
Christ, who, through a mistaken zeal, may be ready 
to "cast out your name as evil/' Luke vi. 22, and to 
warn others against you as a dangerous person? 
This is none of the least triumphs of charity, nor any 
despicable evidence of an advance in religion. 

6. And, on this head, reflect further, "how can 
you bear injuries?" — There is a certain hardness of 
soul in this respect, which argues a confirmed state 
in piety and virtue. Does every thing of this kind 
hurry and ruffle you, so as to put you on contrivances 
how you may recompense, or, at least, how you may 
disgrace and expose him who has done you the 
wrong? Or can you stand the shock calmly, and 
easily divert your mind to other objects, only (when 
you recollect these things) pitying and praying for 
those who, with the worst tempers and views, are 
assaulting you? This is a Christ-like temper indeed, 
and he will own it as such; will own you as one of 
his soldiers, as one of his heroes; especially if it rises 


so far, as instead of " being overcome of evil, to over- 
come evil with good," Rom. xii. 21. Watch over 
your spirit, and over your tongue, when injuries are 
offered; and see whether you be ready to meditate 
upon them, to aggravate them to yourself, to com- 
plain of them to others, and to lay on all the load 
of blame that you in justice can: or whether you 
be ready to put the kindest construction upon the 
offence, to excuse it as far as reason will allow, and, 
where, after all, it will wear a black and odious as- 
pect, to forgive it, heartily to forgive it, and that even 
before any submission is made or pardon asked; and 
in token of the sincerity of that forgiveness, to be 
contriving what can be done, by some benefit or other 
toward the injurious person to teach him better 

7. Examine further " with regard to the other evils 
and calamities of life, and even with regard to its un- 
certainties, how can you bear them? — Do you find 
your soul in this respect gathering strength? Have 
you fewer foreboding fears and disquieting alarms 
than you once had as to what may happen in life ? 
Can you trust the wisdom and goodness of God to 
order your affairs for you, with more complacency 
and cheerfulness than formerly? Do you find you 
are able to unite your thoughts more in surveying 
present circumstances, that you may collect immediate 
duty from them, though you know not what God 
will next appoint or call you to? And when you 
feel the smart of affliction, do you make a less matter 
of it? Can you transfer your heart more easily to 
heavenly and divine objects, without an anxious so- 
licitude, whether this or that burden be removed, so 
it may be but sanctified to promote your communion 
with God, and your ripeness for glory? 

8. Examine also, " whether you advance in hu- 
mility." — This is a silent, but most excellent grace; 
and they who are most eminent in it, are dearest to 
God, and most fit for the communications of his pre- 
sence to them. Do you then feel your mind more 
emptied of proud and haughty imaginations; not 


prone so much to look back upon past services which 
it has performed, as forward to those which are yet 
before you, and inward upon the remaining imper- 
fections of your heart? Do you more tenderly ob- 
serve your daily slips and miscarriages, and find 
yourself disposed to mourn over those things before 
the Lord, that once passed with you as slight mat- 
ters; though when you come to survey them as in 
the presence of God, you find they were not wholly 
involuntary, or free from guilt? Do you feel in your 
breast a deeper apprehension of the infinite majesty 
of the blessed God, and of the glory of his natural 
and moral perfections ; so as, in consequence of those 
views, to perceive yourself as it were annihilated in his 
presence, and to shrink into " less than nothing and 
vanity?" Isa. xl. 17. If this be your temper, God 
will look upon you with peculiar favour, and will 
visit you more and more with the distinguished bless- 
ings of his grace. 

9. But there is another great branch and effect of 
Christian humility, which it would be an unpardon- 
able negligence to omit. Let me, therefore, further 
inquire, Are you more frequently renewing your 
application, your sincere, steady, determined applica- 
tion, to the righteousness and blood of Christ, as be- 
ing sensible how unworthy you are to appear before 
God otherwise than in him? And do the remaining 
corruptions of your heart humble you before him, 
though the disorders of your life are in a great mea- 
sure cured? Are you more earnest to obtain the 
quickening influences of the Holy Spirit? and have 
you such a sense of your own weakness, as to en- 
gage you to depend, in all the duties you perform, 
upon the communications of his grace to " help your 
infirmities?" Rom. viii. 26. Can you, at the close 
of your most religious, exemplary, and useful days, 
blush before God for the deficiencies of them, while 
others perhaps may be ready to admire and extol 
your conduct? And while you give the glory of all 
that has been right to Him from whom the strength 
and grace has been derived, are you coming to the 


blood of sprinkling to free you from the guilt which 
mingles itself even with the best of your services? 
Do you learn to receive the bounties of Providence, 
not only with thankfulness as coming from God, but 
with a mixture of shame and confusion too, under a 
consciousness that you do not deserve them, and are 
continually forfeiting them? And do you justify 
Providence in your afflictions and disappointments, 
even while many are nourishing around you in the 
full bloom of prosperity, whose offences have been 
more visible at least, and more notorious than yours? 

10. Do you also advance in " zeal and activity for 
the service of God, and the happiness of mankind?" 
Does your love show itself solid and sincere, by a con- 
tinual flow of good works from it? Can you view the 
sorrows of others with tender compassion, and with 
projects and contrivances what you may do to relieve 
them ? Do you feel in your breast that you are more 
frequently "devising liberal things," lsa. xxxii. 8, and 
ready to wave your own advantage or pleasure that 
you may accomplish them ? Do you find your imagina- 
tion teeming, as it were, with conceptions and schemes 
for the advancement of the cause and interest of 
Christ in the world, for the propagation of his gospel, 
and for the happiness of your fellow-creatures ? And 
do you not only pray, but act for it; act in such a 
manner as to show that you pray in earnest; and feel 
a readiness to do what little you can in this cause, 
even though others who might, if they pleased, very 
conveniently do a vast deal more, will do nothing? 

11. And not to enlarge on this copious head, re- 
flect once more, " how your affections stand with re- 
gard to this world and another" — Are you more 
deeply and practically convinced of the vanity of 
these "things which are seen and are temporal?" 2 
Cor. iv. 18. Do you perceive your expectations from 
them, and your attachments to them, to diminish? You 
are willing to stay in this world as long as your Fa- 
ther pleases, and it is right and well: but do you find 
your bonds so loosened to it, that you are willing, 
heartily willing, to leave it at the shortest warning ; 


so that if God should see fit to summon you away 
on a sudden, though it should be in the midst of your 
enjoyments, pursuits, expectations, and hopes, you 
would cordially consent to that remove ; without say- 
ing, Lord, let me stay a little while longer to enjoy 
this or that agreeable entertainment, to finish this or 
that scheme ? Can you think with an habitual calm- 
ness, and hearty approbation, if such be the divine 
pleasure, of waking no more when you lie down on 
your bed, of returning home no more when you go 
out of your house? And yet, on the other hand, how 
great soever the burdens of life are, do you find a 
willingness to bear them, in submission to the will of 
your heavenly Father, though it should be to many 
future years; and though they should be years of 
far greater affliction than you have ever yet seen? 
Can you say calmly and steadily, if not with such 
overflowings of tender affection as you could desire, 
" Behold thy servant, thy child, is in thine hand, do 
with me as seemeth good in thy sight !" 2 Sam. xv. 26. 
My will is melted into thine, to be lifted up, or laid 
down, to be carried out, or brought in, to be here or 
there, in this or that circumstance, just as thou pleas- 
est, and as shall best suit with thy great extensive 
plan, which it is impossible that I, or all the angels 
in heaven, should mend. 

12. These, if I understand matters right, are some 
of the most substantial evidences of growth and esta- 
blishment in religion. Search after them : bless God 
for them, so far as you discover them in yourself; 
and study to advance in them daily, under the influ- 
ences of divine grace, to which I heartily recommend 
you, and to which I entreat you frequently to recom- 
mend yourself. 


thou ever blessed Fountain of natural and spi- 
ritual life ! I thank thee that I live, and know the 
exercises and pleasures of a religious life. I bless 


thee that thou hast infused into me thine own vital 
breath, though I was once " dead in trespasses and 
sins," Eph. ii. 1, so that I am become in a sense pe- 
culiar to thine own children, " a living soul," Gen. ii. 
7. But it is my earnest desire, that I may not only 
live, but grow ; " grow in grace, and in the know- 
ledge of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," 2 Pet. 
iii. 18, upon an acquaintance with whom my pro- 
gress in it so evidently depends! In this view, I 
humbly entreat thee, that thou wilt form my mind 
to right notions in religion, that I may not judge of 
grace by any wrong conceptions of it, nor measure 
my advances in it by those things which are merely 
the effects of nature, and possibly its corrupt effects ! 

May 1 be seeking after an increase of divine love 
to thee, my God and Father in Christ: of unreserved 
resignation to thy wise and holy will, and of exten- 
sive benevolence to my fellow-creatures! May I 
grow in patience and fortitude of soul, in humility 
and zeal, in spirituality and a heavenly disposition 
of mind, and in a concern " that whether present or 
absent, I may be accepted of the Lord," 2 Cor. v. 9, 
that whether I live or die, it may be for his glory ! 
In a word, as thou knowest I hunger and thirst after 
righteousness, make me whatever thou wouldst de- 
light to see me. Draw on my soul, by the gentle 
influences of thy gracious Spirit, every trace and 
every feature, which thine eye, heavenly Father, 
may survey with pleasure, and which thou mayest 
acknowledge as thine own image. 

I am sensible, Lord, I have not as yet attained; 
yea, my soul is utterly confounded to think " how far 
I am from being already perfect:" but this one thing 
(after the great example of thine apostle,) I would en- 
deavour to do ; forgetting the tilings which are behind, 
"I would, press forward to those which are before," 
Phil. iii. 12, 13. that thou wouldst feed my soul by 
thy word and Spirit ! Having been, as I humbly hope 
and trust, regenerated by it, " being born again, not 
of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, even by the 
word which liveth and abideth for ever," 1 Pet. i. 


23, as "a new-born babe, I desire the sincere milk 
of the word, that I may grow thereby/ 5 1 Pet. ii. 2. 
" And may my profiting appear unto all men/' 1 
Tim. iv. 15, till at length " I come unto a perfect man, 
unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of 
Christ/' Eph. iv. 13, and after having enjoyed the 
pleasure of those that flourish eminently in the courts 
below, be fixed in the paradise above! I ask and 
hope it through Him of " whose fulness we have all 
received/even grace for grace:" John i. 16. "To 
Him be glory, both now and for ever !" 2 Pet. hi. 18. 



A holy joy in God our privilege as well as our duty, 1. The Chris- 
tian invited to the exercise of it, 2. (1.) By the representation 
of temporal mercies, 3. (2.) By the consideration of spiritual fa- 
vours, 4. (3.) By the views of eternal happiness, 5. And (4.) 
Of the mercies of God to others, the living and the dead, 6. The 
chapter closes with an exhortation to this heavenly exercise, 7. 
And with an example of the genuine workings of this grateful 
joy in God. 

1. I would now suppose my reader to find, on an 
examination of his spiritual state, that he is growing 
in grace. And if you desire that this growth may 
at once be acknowledged and promoted, let me call 
your soul to that more affectionate exercise of love to 
God, and joy in him, which suits, and strengthens, 
and exalts, the character of the advanced Christian; 
and which I beseech you to regard, not only as your 
privilege, but as your duty too. Love is the most 
sublime generous principle of all true and acceptable 


obedience ; and with love, when so wisely and hap- 
pily fixed, when so certainly returned, joy, propor- 
tionable joy, must naturally be connected. It may 
justly grieve a man that enters into the spirit of Chris- 
tianity to see how low a life the generality even of 
sincere Christians commonly live in this respect. 
" Rejoice then in the Lord, ye righteous, and give 
thanks at the remembrance of his holiness," Psal. 
xcvii. 12, and of all those other perfections and glo- 
ries which are included in that majestic, that won- 
derful, that delightful name, The Lord thy God! 
Spend not your sacred moments merely in confession, 
or petition, though each must have their daily share : 
but give a part, a considerable part, to the celestial 
and angelic work of praise. Yea, labour to carry 
about with you continually a heart overflowing with 
such sentiments, warmed and inflamed with such af- 

2. Are there not continually rays enough diffused 
from the great Father of light and love to enkindle it 
in our bosom? Come, my Christian friend and bro- 
ther, come and survey with me the goodness of our 
heavenly Father. And 0! that he would give me 
such a sense of it, that I might represent it in a suit- 
able manner ; that " while I am musing the fire may 
burn" in my own heart, Psal. xxxix. 3, and be com- 
municated to yours ! and ! that it might pass with 
the lines I write, from soul to soul; awakening in the 
breast of every Christian that reads them, sentiments 
more worthy of the children of God, and the heirs of 
glory; who are to spend an eternity in those sacred 
exercises to which I am now endeavouring to excite 

3. Have you not reason to adopt the words of Da- 
vid, and say, " How many are thy gracious thoughts 
unto me, Lord! how great is the sum of them! 
When I would count them, they are more in number 
than the sand," Psal. cxxxix. 17, 18. You indeed 
know where to begin the survey; for the favours of 
God to you began with your being. Commemorate 
it therefore with a grateful heart, that the "eyes 


which saw your substance, being yet imperfect," 
beheld you with a friendly care, " when you were 
made in secret," and have watched over you ever 
since ; and that the hand, which drew the plan of 
your members, when as yet there was none of them, 
Psal. cxxxix. 15, 16, not only fashioned them at first, 
but from that time has been concerned in keeping all 
your bones, so that not "one of them is broken," 
Psal. xxxiv. 20, and that indeed it is to this you owe 
it that you live. Look back upon the path you have 
trod, from the day that God brought you out of the 
womb, and say, whether you do not, as it were, see 
all the road thick set with the marks and memorials 
of the divine goodness. Recollect the places where 
you have lived, and the persons with whom you 
have most intimately conversed ; and call to mind the 
mercies you have received in those places, and from 
those persons, as the instruments of the divine care 
and goodness. Recollect the difficulties and dangers 
with which you have been surrounded ; and reflect 
attentively on what God has done to defend you from 
them, or to carry you through them. Think how 
often there has been " but a step between you and 
death ;" and how suddenly God has sometimes inter- 
posed to set you in safety, even before you appre- 
hended your danger. Think of those chambers of ill- 
ness in which you have been confined, and from 
whence perhaps you once thought you should go 
forth no more; but said, with Hezekiah, " In the cut- 
ting off" of my days I shall go to the gates of the 
grave; I am deprived of the residue of my years," 
Isa. xxxviii. 10. God has, it may be, since that time, 
added many years to your life; and you know not 
how many may be in reserve, or how much useful- 
ness and happiness may attend each. Survey your 
circumstances in relative life; how many kind friends 
are surrounding you daily, and studying how they 
may contribute to your comfort. Reflect on those 
remarkable circumstances in providence, which occa- 
sioned the knitting of some bonds of this kind, which, 
next to those which join your soul to God, you num- 


ber among the happiest. And forget not, in how 
many instances, when these dear lives have been 
threatened, lives perhaps, more sensibly dear than 
your own, God has given them back from the bor- 
ders of the grave, and so added new endearments 
arising from that tender circumstance to all your after 
converse with them. Nor forget, in how gracious a 
manner he has supported some others in their last 
moments, and enabled them to leave behind a sweet 
odour of piety, which has embalmed their memories, 
revived you when ready to faint under the sorrows 
of the last separation, and, on the whole, made even 
the recollection of their death delightful. 

4. But it is more than time that I lead on your 
thoughts to the many spiritual mercies which God has 
bestowed upon you. Look back, as it were, to the 
"rock from whence you were hewn, and to the hole of 
the pit from whence you were digged," Isa. li. 1. Re- 
flect seriously on the state wherein divine grace found 
you: under how much guilt, under how much pollu- 
tion ! in what danger, in what ruin ! Think what was, 
and, ! think with yet deeper reflection, what would 
have been the case ! The eye of God, which pene- 
trates into eternity, saw that your mind, amused with 
the trifles of present time, and sensual gratification, 
was utterly ignorant and regardless of it ; it saw you 
on the borders of eternity, and pitied you; saw that 
you would in a little time have been such a helpless 
wretched creature, as the sinner that is just now dead, 
and has, to his infinite surprise and everlasting terror, 
met his unexpected doom, and would, like him, stand 
thunderstruck in astonishment and despair. This 
God saw, and he pitied you; and being merciful to 
you, he provided in the counsels of his eternal love 
and grace, a Redeemer for you, and purchased you 
to himself with the blood of his Son ; a price which, 
if you will pause upon it, and think seriously what 
it was, must surely affect you to such a degree as to 
make you fall down before God in wonder and shame, 
to think it should ever have been given for you. To 
accomplish these blessed purposes, he sent his grace 


into your heart; so that, though "you were once 
darkness, you are now light in the Lord," Eph. v. 8. 
He made that happy change which you now feel in 
your soul, and by his Holy Spirit which is given to 
you, he shed abroad that principle of love, Rom. v. 
5, which is enkindled by this review, and now flames 
with greater ardour than before. Thus far he has 
supported you in your Christian course ; and, " hav- 
ing obtained help from him, it is, that you continue 
even to this day," Acts xxvi. 22. He has not only 
blessed you, but made you a blessing, Gen. xii. 2: and 
though you have not been so useful as that holy ge- 
nerosity of heart, which he has excited, would have 
engaged you to desire, yet some good you have done 
in the station in which he has fixed you. Some of 
your brethren of mankind have been relieved, per- 
haps too some thoughtless creature reclaimed to vir- 
tue and happiness,by his blessing on your endeavours. 
Some in the way to heaven are praising God for you; 
and some, perhaps, already there are longing for your 
arrival, that they may thank you in nobler and more 
expressive forms for benefits, the importance of which 
they now sufficiently understand, though while here 
they could never conceive it. 

5. Christian, look round on the numberless bless- 
ings of one kind and of another with which you are 
already encompassed; and advance your prospect 
still further to what faith yet discovers within the 
veil. Think of those now unknown transports with 
which thou shalt drop every burden in the grave, 
and thine immortal spirit shall mount, light and joy- 
ful, holy and happy, to God, its original, its support, 
and its hope; to God, the source of being, of holiness, 
and of pleasure ; to Jesus, through whom all these 
mercies are derived to thee, and who will appoint 
thee a throne near his own, to be for ever the specta- 
tor and partaker of his glory. Think of the rapture 
with which thou shalt attend his triumph in the re- 
surrection day, and receive this poor mouldering cor- 
ruptible body, transformed into his glorious image ; 
and then think, " these hopes are not mine alone, but 


the hopes of thousands and millions. Multitudes, 
whom I number among the dearest of my friends 
upon earth, are rejoicing with me in these apprehen- 
sions and views; and God gives me sometimes to see 
the smiles on their cheeks, the sweet humble hope 
that sparkles in their eyes, and shines through the 
tears of tender gratitude ; and to hear that little of 
their inward complacency and joy which language 
can express. Yes, and multitudes more, who were 
once equally dear to me with these, though I have 
laid them in the grave, and wept over their dust, are 
living to God, living in the possession of inconceivable 
delights, and drinking large draughts of the water 
of life, which flows in perpetual streams at his right 

6. Christian, thou art still intimately united and 
allied to them. Death cannot break a friendship thus 
cemented ; and it ought not to render thee insensible 
of the happiness of those friends for whose memory 
thou retainest so just an honour. They live to God, 
as his servants; they " serve him, and see his face;" 
Rev. xxii. 3, 4, and they make but a small part of 
that glorious assembly. Millions equally worthy of 
thine esteem and affections with themselves inhabit 
those blissful regions: and wilt thou not rejoice in 
their joy? and wilt thou not adore that everlasting 
spring of holiness and happiness from whence each 
of these streams is derived? Yea, I will add, while 
the blessed angels are so kindly regarding us, while 
they are administering to thee, Christian, and bear- 
ing thee in their arms, "as an heir of salvation," 
Heb. i. 14, wilt thou not rejoice in their felicity too? 
and wilt thou not adore that God, who gives them 
all the superior glory of their more exalted nature, 
and gives them a heaven, which fills them with bless- 
edness, even while they seem to withdraw from it 
that they may attend on thee ? 

7. This, and infinitely more than this, the blessed 
God is, and was, and shall ever be. The felicities of 
the blessed spirits that surround his throne, and thy 
felicities, Christian, are immortal. These heavenly 


luminaries shall glow with an undecaying flame; and 
thou shalt shine and glitter among them, when the 
sun and stars are gone out. Still shall the unchang- 
ing Father of lights pour forth his beams upon them; 
and the lustre they reflect from him, and their hap- 
piness in him, shall be everlasting, shall be ever 
growing. Bow down, thou child of God, thou 
heir of glory, bow down, and let all that is around 
thee, and all that is before thee, in the prospects of an 
unbounded eternity, concur to elevate and transport 
thy soul: that thou mayest, as far as possible, begin 
the work and blessedness of heaven, in falling down 
before the God of it, in opening thine heart to his 
gracious influences, and in breathing out before him 
that incense of praise which these warm beams of 
his presence and love have so great a tendency to 
produce, and to ennoble with a fragrancy resembling 
that of his paradise above. 


my God, it is enough! I have mused, and "the 
fire burnetii!" Psal. xxxix. 3. But, ! in what lan- 
guage shall the flame break forth ! What can I say 
but this, that my heart admires thee, and adores thee, 
and loves thee ! My little vessel is as full as it can 
hold; and I would pour out all that fulness before 
thee, that it may grow capable of receiving more and 
more. Thou art " my hope, and my help ; my glory 
and the lifter up of my head," Psal. iii. 3. " My heart 
rejoiceth in thy salvation;" Psal. xiii. and when I 
set myself under the influences of thy good Spirit to 
converse with thee, a thousand delightful thoughts 
spring up at once; a thousand sources of pleasure 
are unsealed, and flow in upon my soul with such 
refreshment and joy, that they seem to crowd into 
every moment the happiness of days, and weeks, and 

1 bless thee, God, for this soul of mine, which 


thou hast created ; which thou hast taught to say, 
and I hope to the happiest purpose, " Where is God 
my maker?" Job xxxv. 10. I bless thee for the 
knowledge with which thou hast adorned it. I bless 
thee for that grace with which, I trust, I may (not 
without humble wonder) say, Thou hast sanctified it; 
though, alas ! the celestial plant is fixed in too barren 
a soil, and does not nourish to the degree I could 

I bless thee also for that body which thou hast 
given me, and which thou pre.servest as yet in its 
strength and vigour; not only capable of relishing 
the entertainments which thou providest for its va- 
rious senses, but (which I esteem far more valuable 
than any of them for its own sake,) capable of acting 
with some vivacity in thy service. I bless thee for 
that ease and freedom with which these limbs of mine 
move themselves, and obey the dictates of my spirit, 
I hope, as guided by thine. I bless thee that " the 
keepers of the house do not yet tremble, nor the 
strong men bow themselves; that they that look out 
of the windows are not yet darkened, nor the daugh- 
ters of music brought low." — I bless thee, God of 
my life, that " the silver cord is not yet loosed, nor the 
golden bowl broken," Eccl. xii. 3, 4, 6. For it is 
thine hand that braces all my nerves, and thine infi- 
nite skill that prepares those spirits which flow in so 
freely, and, when exhausted, recruit so soon and so 

I praise thee for that royal bounty which thou pro- 
videst for the daily support of mankind in general, 
and for mine in particular; for the various tables 
which thou spreadest before me, and for the over- 
flowing cup which thou puttest into mine hands, 
Psal. xxiii. 5. I bless thee, that these bounties of thy 
providence do not serve, as it were, to upbraid a dis- 
abled appetite, and are not like messes of meat set 
before the dead. I bless thee too, that " I eat not my 
morsel alone; Job xxxi. 17, but share it with so 
many agreeable friends, who add the relish of a social 
life to that of the animal, at our seasons of common 


repast. I thank thee for so many dear relatives at 
home, for so many kind friends abroad, who are capa- 
ble of serving me in various instances, and disposed 
to make an obliging use of that capacity. 

Nor would I forget to acknowledge thy favour, in 
rendering me capable of serving others, and giving 
me in any instances to know how much more "blessed 
it is to give than to receive," Acts xx. 35. I thank 
thee for a heart which feels the sorrows of the neces- 
sitous, and a mind which can make it my early care 
and refreshment to contrive, according to my little 
ability, for their relief: for " this also cometh forth 
from thee, Lord," Isa. xxviii. 9, the great author 
of every benevolent inclination, of every prudent 
scheme, of every successful attempt to spread happi- 
ness around us, or in any instance to lessen distress. 

And, surely, Lord, if I thus acknowledge the 
pleasures of sympathy with the afflicted, much more 
must I bless thee for those of sympathy with the 
happy, with those that are completely blessed. I 
adore thee for the streams that water paradise, and 
maintain it in ever-flourishing, ever-growing delight. 
I praise thee for the rest, the joy, the transport, thou 
art giving to many that were once dear to me on 
earth; whose sorrows it was my labour to soothe, 
and whose joys, especially in thee, it was the delight 
of my heart to promote. I praise thee for the bless- 
edness of every saint, and of every angel, that sur- 
rounds thy throne above; and I praise thee with ac- 
cents of distinguished pleasure for that reviving hope 
which thou hast implanted in my bosom, that I shall 
ere long know, by clear sight, and by everlasting ex- 
perience, what that felicity of theirs is, which I now 
only discover at a distance, through the comparative- 
ly obscure glass of faith. Even now, I am " wait- 
ing for thy salvation," Gen. xlix. 18, with that ardent 
desire on the one hand which its sublime greatness 
cannot but inspire into the believing soul, and that 
calm resignation on the other, which the immutabili- 
ty of thy promise establishes. 

And now, my God, what shall I say unto thee! 


What, but that I love thee above all the powers of 
language to express! That I love thee for what thou 
art to thy creatures, who are in their various forms, 
every moment deriving being, knowledge, and happi- 
ness from thee, in numbers and degrees far beyond 
what my narrow imagination can conceive. But, 0, 
I adore and love thee yet far more for what thou art 
in thyself, for those stores of perfection, which crea- 
tion has not diminished, and which never can be ex- 
hausted by all the effects of it which thou impartest 
to thy creatures; that infinite perfection, which makes 
thee thine own happiness, thine own end; amiable, 
infinitely amiable and venerable, were all derived 
excellency and happiness forgot. 

thou first, thou greatest, thou fairest of all ob- 
jects! thou only great, thou only fair, possess all my 
soul ! and surely thou dost possess it. While I thus 
feel thy sacred Spirit breathing on my heart, and ex- 
citing these fervours of love to thee, I cannot doubt 
it any more than I can doubt the reality of this ani- 
mal life, while I exert the actings of it, and feel its 
sensations. Surely if ever I knew the appetite of 
hunger, my soul hungers after righteousness, Matt, 
v. 6, and longs for a greater conformity to thy bless- 
ed nature, and holy will. If ever my palate felt thirst, 
" my soul thirsteth for God, even for the living God," 
Psal. xlii. 2, and panteth for the more abundant com- 
munication of his favour. If ever this body, when 
wearied with labours or journeys, knew what it was 
to wish for the refreshment of my bed, and rejoiced 
to rest there, my soul, with sweet acquiescence, rests 
upon thy gracious bosom, my heavenly Father, and 
returns to its repose in the embraces of its God, who 
hath dealt so bountifully with it, Psal. cxvi. 7. And if 
ever I saw the face of a beloved friend with compla- 
cency and joy, I rejoice in beholding thy face, Lord, 
and in calling thee my Father in Christ. Such thou 
art, and such thou wilt be, for time and for eternity. 
What have I more to do, but to commit myself to 
thee for both? leaving it to thee to choose mine in- 
heritance, and to order my affairs for me, Psal. xlvii. 


4, while all my business is to serve thee, and all my 
delight to praise thee. " My soul follows hard after 
God, because his right hand upholds me," Psal. Ixiii. 
8. Let it still bear me up, and I shall press on to- 
wards thee, till all my desires be accomplished in the 
eternal enjoyment of thee. Amen. 



A sincere love to God will express itself, not only in devotion, but 
in benevolence to man, 1. 2. This is the command of God, 3. 
The true Christian feels his soul wrought to a holy conformity to 
it, 4, and therefore will desire instruction on this head, 5. Ac- 
cordingly directions are given for the improvement of various ta- 
lents; particularly, (1.) Genius and learning, 6. (2.) Power, 7. 
(3.) Domestic authority, 8. (4.) Esteem, 9. (5.) Riches, 10. 
Several good ways of employing them hinted at, 11. Prudence in 
expense urged for the support of charity, 12, 13. Divine direc- 
tion in this respect to be sought, 14. The Christian breathing 
after more extensive usefulness. 

1. Such as I have described in the former chapters, 
I trust are, and will be, the frequent exercises of your 
souls before God. Thus will your love and gratitude 
breathe itself forth in the divine presence, and will, 
through Jesus the great Mediator, come up before it 
as incense, and yield an acceptable savour. But then 
you must remember, this will not be the only effect 
of that love to God, which I have supposed so warm 
in your heart. If it be sincere, it will not spend it- 
self in words alone; but will discover itself in ac- 
tions, and will produce, as its genuine fruit, an un- 
feigned love to your fellow-creatures, and an unwea- 
ried desire and labour to do them good continually. 
2. " Has the great Father of mercies," you will 
say, " looked upon me with so gracious an eye; has 
he not only forgiven me ten thousand offences, but 


enriched me with such a variety of benefits ; ! what 
shall I render to him for them all! Instruct me, 
ye oracles of eternal truth! Instruct me, ye elder 
brethren in the family of my heavenly Father! in- 
struct me above all, thou Spirit of wisdom and of 
love, what I may be able to do to express my love 
to the great eternal Fountain of love, and to prove my 
fidelity to him who hath already done so much to 
engage it, and who will take so much pleasure in 
owning and rewarding it!" 

3. This, Christian, " is the command which we 
have heard from the beginning," and it will ever 
continue in unimpaired force, " that he who loveth 
God should love his brother also," 1 John iv. 21 ; and 
should express that love, "not in word and profes- 
sion alone, but in deed and in truth," 1 John iii. IS. 
You are to " love your neighbour as yourself; to love 
"the whole creation of God;" and, so far as your 
influence can extend, must endeavour to make it 

4. "Yes," will you say, "and I do love it. I feel 
the golden chain of the divine love encircling us 
all, and binding us close to each other, joining us in 
one body ; and diffusing, as it were, one soul through 
all. May happiness, true and sublime, perpetual and 
ever-growing happiness, reign through the whole 
world of God's rational and obedient creatures in 
heaven and on earth ! And may every revolted crea- 
ture, that is capable of being recovered and restored, 
be made obedient. Yea, may the necessary punish- 
ment of those who are irrecoverable, be overruled 
by infinite wisdom and love, to the good of the 

5. These are right sentiments; and if they are in- 
deed the sentiments of your heart, reader, and not 
an empty form of vain words, they will be attended 
with a serious concern to act in subordination to 
this great scheme of divine Providence, according to 
your abilities in their utmost extent. And to this 
purpose they will put you on surveying the peculiar 
circumstances of your life and being, that you may 


discover what opportunities of usefulness they now 
afford, and how those opportunities and capacities 
may be improved. Enter, therefore, into such a sur- 
vey; not that you may pride yourself in the distinc- 
tions of divine Providence or grace towards you, or 
" having received, may glory as if you had not re- 
ceived," 1 Cor. iv. 7, but that you may deal faithfully 
with the great Proprietor, whose steward you are, 
and by whom you are intrusted with every talent, 
which, with respect to any claim from your fellow 
creatures, you may call your own. And here, " hav- 
ing gifts differing according to the grace which is 
given unto us," Rom. xii. 6, let us hold the ba- 
lance with an impartial hand, that so we may deter- 
mine what it is that God requires of us; which is no- 
thing less than doing the most we can invent, con- 
trive, and effect, for the general good. But, how 
seldom is this estimate faithfully made! and how 
much does the world around us, and how much do 
our own souls suffer, for want of that fidelity! 

6. Hath God given you genius and learning? It 
was not that you might amuse or deck yourself with 
it, and kindle a blaze which should only serve to at- 
tract and dazzle the eyes of men: it was intended to 
be the means of leading both yourself and them to 
the Father of lights. And it will be your duty, ac- 
cording to the peculiar turn of that genius and capa- 
city, either to endeavour to improve and adorn hu- 
man life, or, by a more direct application of it to 
divine subjects, to plead the cause of religion; to de- 
fend its truths; to enforce and recommend its practice ; 
to deter men from courses which would be dishonour- 
able to God and fatal to themselves ; and to try the 
utmost efforts of all the solemnity and tenderness 
with which you can clothe your addresses, to lead 
them into the paths of virtue and of happiness. 

7. Has God invested you with power, whether it 
be in a larger or smaller society? Remember, that 
this power was given you that God might be honour- 
ed, and those placed under your government, whether 
domestic or public, might be made happy. Be con- 



cerned therefore, whether you be intrusted with the 
rod, or the sword, it may " not be borne in vain," 
Rom. xiii. 4. Are you a magistrate ? have you any 
share in the great and tremendous charge of enacting 
laws ? Reverence the authority of the supreme Le- 
gislator, the great Guardian of society: promote 
none, consent to none, which you do not in your own 
conscience esteem, in present circumstances, an inti- 
mation of his will; and in the establishment of which 
you do not firmly believe you shall be " his minister 
for good," Rom. xiii. 4. Have you the charge of 
executing laws; put life into them by a vigorous and 
strenuous execution, according to the nature of the 
particular office you bear. Retain not an empty 
name of authority. Permit not yourself, as it were, 
to fall asleep on the tribunal. Be active, be wakeful, 
be observant of what passes around you. Protect 
the upright and the innocent. Break in pieces the 
power of the oppressor. Unveil every dishonest art. 
Disgrace, as well as defeat, the wretch that makes 
his distinguished abilities the disguise or protection 
of the wickedness which he ought rather to endea- 
vour to expose, and to drive out of the world with 

8. Are you placed only at the head of a private 
family ? Rule it for God. Administer the concerns 
of that little kingdom with the same views, and on 
the same principles, which I have been inculcating 
on the powerful and the great; if by any unexpected 
accident any of them should suffer their eyes to glance 
upon the passage above. Your children and servants 
are your natural subjects. Let good order be esta- 
blished among them, and keep them under a regular 
discipline. Let them be instructed in the principles 
of religion, that they may know how reasonable such 
a discipline is; and let them be accustomed to act ac- 
cordingly. You cannot indeed change their hearts, 
but you may very much influence their conduct; and 
by that means may preserve them from many snares, 
may do a great deal to make them good members of 
society, and may " set them, as it were, in the way 


of God's steps," Psal. lxxxv. 13, if peradventure 
passing by he may bless them with the riches of his 
grace. And fail not to do your utmost to convince 
them of their need of those blessings; labour to en- 
gage them to a high esteem of them, and to an ear- 
nest desire after them, as incomparably more valuable 
than any thing else. 

9. Again, has God been pleased to raise you to 
esteem among your fellow-creatures, which is not 
always in proportion to a man's rank or possessions 
in human life? Are your counsels heard with atten- 
tion? Is your company sought? Does God give 
you good acceptance in the eyes of men, so that they 
do not only put the fairest construction on your 
words, but overlook faults of which you are con- 
scious to yourself, and consider your actions and 
performances in the most indulgent and favourable 
light? You ought to regard this not only as a favour 
of Providence, and as an encouragement to you 
cheerfully to pursue your duty, in the several branch- 
es of it, for the time to come; but also, as giving 
you much greater opportunities of usefulness than in 
your present station you could otherwise have had. 
If your character has any weight in the world, throw 
it into the right scale. Endeavour to keep virtue and 
goodness in countenance. Affectionately give your 
hand to modest worth, where it seems to be depressed 
or overlooked, though shining, when viewed in its 
proper light, with a lustre which you may think 
much superior to your own. Be an advocate for 
truth; be a counsellor of peace; be an example of 
candour; and do all you can to reconcile the hearts 
of men, and especially of good men, to each other, 
however they may differ in their opinions about mat- 
ters which it is possible for good men to dispute. 
And let the caution and humility of your behaviour 
in circumstances of such superior eminence, and 
amidst so many tokens of general esteem, silently re- 
prove the rashness and haughtiness of those who, 
perhaps, are remarkable for little else; or who, if 
their abilities were indeed considerable, must be des- 


pised, and whose talents must be in a great measure 
lost to the public, till that rashness and haughtiness 
of spirit be subdued. Nor suffer yourself to be in- 
terrupted in this generous and worthy course by the 
little attacks of envy and calumny which you may 
meet with in it. Be still attentive to the general 
good, and steadily resolute in your efforts to promote 
it; and leave it to Providence to guard or to rescue 
your character from the base assaults of malice and 
falsehood; which will often, without your labour, 
confute themselves, and heap upon the authors great- 
er shame, or (if they are inaccessible to that) greater 
infamy, than your humanity will allow you to wish 

10. Once more: has God blessed you with riches? 
has he placed you in such circumstances that you 
have more than you absolutely need for the subsist- 
ence of yourself and your family? Remember your ap- 
proaching account. Remember what an incumbrance 
these things often prove to men in the way of their 
salvation, and how often, according to our Lord's 
express declaration, they render it " as difficult to 
enter into the kingdom of God, as it is for a camel to 
go through the eye of a needle," Matt. xix. 24. Let 
it therefore be your immediate, your earnest, and 
your daily prayer, that riches may not be a snare and 
a shame to you, as they are to by far the greater part 
of their possessors. Appropriate, I beseech you, some 
certain part and proportion of your estate and reve- 
nues to charitable uses; with a provisional increase, 
as God shall prosper you, in any extraordinary in- 
stance. By this means you will always have a fund 
of charity at hand: and you will probably be more 
ready to communicate, when you look upon what is 
so deposited as not in any sense your own, but as 
already actually given away to those uses, though 
not yet affixed to particular objects. It is not for me 
to say what that proportion ought to be. To those 
who have large revenues and no children, perhaps 
a third or one half may be too little: to those 
whose incomes are small, and their charge consider- 


able, though they have something more than is abso- 
lutely necessary, it is possible a tenth may be too 
much. But pray that God would guide your mind; 
make a trial for one year, on such terms as in your 
conscience you think will be most pleasing to him; 
and let your observations on that teach you to fix 
your proportion for the next; always remembering 
that he requires justice in the first place, and alms- 
deeds only so far as may consist with that. Yet, at 
the same time, take heed of that treacherous, delu- 
sive, and, in many instances, destructive imagination, 
that justice to your family requires that you should 
leave your children very rich; which has, perhaps, 
cost some parsimonious parents the lives of those dar- 
lings for whom they laid up the portion of the poor; 
and what fatal consequences of divine displeasure 
may attend it to those that yet survive, God only 
knows ; and I heartily pray that you or yours may 
never learn by experience. 

11. And that your heart may be yet more opened, 
and that your charity may be directed to the best 
purposes, let me briefly mention a variety of good 
uses, which may call for the consideration of those 
whom God has in this respect distinguished by an 
ability to do good. To assist the hints I am to offer, 
look round in the neighbourhood in which you 
live. Think how many honest and industrious, per- 
haps too, I might add, religious people, are making 
very hard shifts to struggle through life. Think what 
a comfort that would be to them, which you might 
without any inconvenience spare from that abun- 
dance which God has given you. — Hearken also to 
any extraordinary call of charity which may happen, 
especially those of a public nature; and help them 
forward with your example and your interest, which, 
perhaps, may be of much greater importance than 
the sum which you contribute, considered in itself. 
Have a tongue to plead for the necessitous, as well 
as a hand to relieve them; and endeavour to discoun- 
tenance those poor shameful excuses which covetous- 
ness often dictates to those whose art may indeed set 



some varnish on what they suggest, but so slight a 
one, that the coarse ground will appear through it. 
— See how many poor children are wandering naked 
and ignorant about the streets, and in the way to all 
kinds of vice and misery; and consider what can be 
done towards clothing some of them at least, and in- 
structing them in the principles of religion. Would 
every thriving family in a town, which is able to 
afford help on such occasions, cast a pitying eye on 
one poor family in its neighbourhood, and take it un- 
der their patronage, to assist in feeding, and clothing, 
and teaching the children, in supporting it in affliction, 
in defending it from wrongs, and in advising those 
that have the management of it, as circumstances 
may require, how great a difference would soon be 
produced in the appearance of things amongst us ! 
— Observe who are sick, that if there be no public- 
infirmary at hand to which you can introduce them, 
(where your contribution will yield the largest in- 
crease,) you may do something towards relieving 
them at home, and supplying them with advice and 
medicines, as well as with proper diet and attendance. 
Consider also the spiritual necessities of men; in pro- 
viding for which, I would particularly recommend to 
you the very important and noble charity of assisting 
young persons of genius and piety with what is ne- 
cessary to support the expense of their education for 
the ministry, in a proper course of grammatical or 
academical studies. And grudge not some propor- 
tion of what God has given you to those who, resign- 
ing all temporal views to minister to you the gospel 
of Christ, have surely an equitable claim to be sup- 
ported by you, in a capacity of rendering you those 
services, however laborious, to which, for your sakes, 
and that of our common Lord, they have devoted 
their lives. And while you are so abundantly " sa- 
tisfied with the goodness of God's house, even of his 
holy temple," Psal. lxv. 4, have compassion on those 
who dwell in a desert land; and rejoice to do some- 
thing towards sending among the distant nations of 
the heathen world, that glorious gospel which has so 


long continued unknown to multitudes, though the 
knowledge of it, with becoming regard, be life ever- 
lasting. — These are a few important charities, which 
I would point out to those whom Providence has en- 
riched with its peculiar bounties ; and it renders gold 
more precious than it could appear in any other light, 
that it is capable of being employed for such pur- 
poses. But if you should not have gold to spare for 
them, contribute your silver; or, as a farthing or a 
mite is not overlooked by God when it is given from 
a truly generous and charitable heart, Mark xii. 42, 
43, let that be cheerfully dropped into the treasury 
where richer offerings cannot be afforded. 

12. And that, amidst so many pressing demands 
for charity, you may be better furnished to answer 
them, seriously reflect on your manner of living. I 
say not that God requires you should become one of 
the many poor relieved out of your income. The 
support of society, as at present established, will not 
only permit, but require that some persons should 
allow themselves in the elegance and delights of life ; 
by furnishing which, multitudes of poor families are 
much more creditably and comfortably subsisted, with 
greater advantage to themselves, and safety to the 
public, than they could be if the price of their la- 
bours, or of the commodities in which they deal, 
were to be given them as an alms ; nor can I imagine 
it grateful to God that his gifts should be refused, as 
if they were meant for snares and curses, rather than 
benefits. This were to frustrate the benevolent pur- 
poses of the gracious Father of mankind, and, if car- 
ried to its rigour, would be a sort of conspiracy against 
the whole system of nature. Let the bounties of 
Providence be used; but let us carefully see to it that 
it be in a moderate and prudent manner, lest, by our 
own folly that which should have been for our wel- 
fare, become a trap, Psal. lxix. 22. Let conscience 
say, my dear reader, with regard to yourself, what 
proportion of the good things you possess, your hea- 
venly Father intends for yourself, and what for your 
brethren; and live not as if you had no brethren, as 


if -pleasing yourself in all the magnificence and luxu- 
ry you can devise, were the end for which you were 
sent into the world. I fear this is the excess of the 
present age, and not an excess of rigour and morti- 
fication. Examine, therefore, your expenses, and 
compare them with your income. That may be 
shamefully extravagant in you, which may not only 
be pardonable, but commendable in another of supe- 
rior estate. Nor can you be sure that you do not 
exceed, merely because you do not plunge yourself 
in debt, nor render yourself incapable of laying up 
any thing for your family. If you be disabled from 
doing any thing for the poor, or any thing proportion- 
able to your rank in life, by that genteel and elegant 
way of living which you affect, God must disapprove 
of such a conduct; and you ought, as you will an- 
swer it to him, to retrench it. And though the divine 
indulgence will undoubtedly be exercised to those 
in whom there is a sincere principle of faith in Christ, 
and undissembled love to God and man, though it 
act not to that height of beneficence and usefulness 
which might have been attained; yet be assured of 
this, that he who rendereth to every one according to 
his works, will have a strict regard to the degrees of 
goodness in the distribution of final rewards: so that 
every neglected opportunity draws after it an irrepa- 
rable loss, which will go into eternity along with you. 
And let me add, too, that every instance of negli- 
gence indulged renders the mind still more and more 
indolent and weak, and, consequently more indisposed 
to recover the ground which has been lost, or even 
to maintain that which has hitherto been kept. 

13. Complain not, that this is imposing hard things 
upon you. I am only directing your pleasures into 
a nobler channel; and indeed that frugality, which 
is the source of such a generosity, far from being at 
all injurious to your reputation, will rather, amongst 
wise and good men, greatly promote it. But you 
have far nobler motives before you than those which 
arise from their regards. I speak to you as to a child 
of God, and a member of Christ; as joined, therefore, 


by the most intimate union to all the poorest of those 
that believe in him. I speak to you as to an heir of 
eternal glory, who ought therefore to have sentiments 
great and sublime, in some proportion to that expect- 
ed inheritance. - 

14. Cast about, therefore, in your thoughts, what 
good is to be done, and what you can do, either in 
your own person, or by your interest with others; 
and go about it with resolution, as in the name and 
presence of the Lord. And as the Lord gives wis- 
dom, and out of his mouth comes knowledge and 
understanding, Prov. ii. 6, go to the footstool of his 
throne, and there seek that guidance and that grace 
which may suit your present circumstances, and may 
be effectual to produce the fruits of holiness and use- 
fulness, to his more abundant glory, and to the hon- 
our of your Christian profession. 


bountiful Father and sovereign Author of all 
good, whether natural or spiritual. I bless thee for 
the various talents with which thou hast enriched so 
undeserving a creature, as I must acknowledge my- 
self to be. My soul is in the deepest confusion be- 
fore thee, when I consider to how little purpose I have 
hitherto improved them. Alas! what have I done, 
in proportion to what thou mightest have reasonably 
expected, with the gifts of nature which thou hast 
bestowed upon me, with my capacities of life, with 
my time, with my talents, with my possessions, with 
my influence over others. Alas! through my own 
negligence and folly, I look back on a barren wilder- 
ness, where I might have seen a fruitful field and a 
springing harvest. Justly do I indeed deserve to be 
stripped of all, to be brought to an immediate account 
for all, to be condemned as in many respects unfaith- 
ful to thee, and to the world, and to my own soul; 
and, in consequence of that condemnation, to be cast 
into the prison of eternal darkness. But thou, Lord;, 


hast freely forgiven the dreadful debt of ten thousand 
talents. Adored be thy name for it. Accept, 
Lord, accept that renewed surrender which I would 
now make of myself, and of all I have unto thy ser- 
vice. I acknowledge that it is " of thine own that I 
give thee," 1 Chron. xxix. 14; make me, I beseech 
thee, a faithful steward for my great Lord; and may 
I think of no separate interest of my own in opposi- 
tion to thine. 

I adore thee, thou God of all grace, if while I 
am thus speaking to thee, I feel the love of thy crea- 
tures arising in my soul; if I feel my heart opening 
to embrace my brethren of mankind. make me 
thy faithful almoner, in distributing to them all that 
thou hast lodged in mine hand for their relief. And 
in determining what is my own share, may I hold 
the balance with an equal hand, and judge impar- 
tially between myself and them. The proportion 
thou allowest may I thankfully take for myself, and 
those who are immediately mine. The rest may I 
distribute with wisdom, and fidelity, and cheerful- 
ness. Guide my hand, ever-merciful Father, while 
thou dost me the honour to make me thine instru- 
ment in dealing out a few of thy bounties, that I may 
bestow them where they are most needed, and where 
they will answer the best end. And if it be thy gra- 
cious will, do thou " multiply the seed sown," 2 Cor. 
ix. 10; prosper me in my worldly affairs that I may 
have more to impart to them that need it; and thus 
lead me on to the region of everlasting plenty, and 
everlasting benevolence. There may I meet with 
many to whom I have been an affectionate benefac- 
tor on earth; and if it be thy blessed will, with many 
whom I have also been the means of conducting into 
the path to that blissful abode. There may they 
entertain me in their habitations of glory. And, in 
time and eternity, do thou, Lord, accept the praise 
of all, through Jesus Christ, at whose feet I would 
bow; and at whose feet, after the most useful course, 
I would at last die, with as much humility as if I 
were then exerting the first act of faith upon him, 


and had never had an opportunity; by one tribute 
of obedience and gratitude in the services of life, to 
approve its sincerity. 



Death and Judgment are near ; but the Christian has reason to wel- 
come both, 1. Yet nature recoils from the solemnity of them ; 2. 
An attempt to reconcile the mind, [I.] To the prospect of death, 3, 
from the consideration, (1.) Of the many evils that surround us 
in this mortal life, 4. (2.) Of the remainder of sin which we feel 
within us, 5. (3.) Of the happiness which is immediately to suc- 
ceed death, 6, 7. All which might make the Christian willing to 
die, in the most agreeable circumstances of human life, 8. [II.] 
The Christian has reason to rejoice in the prospect of judgment, 

9. Since, however awful it be, Christ will then come to vindicate 
his honour, to display his glory, and to triumph over his enemies, 

10. As also to complete the happiness of every believer, 11, and 
of the whole church, 12, 13. The meditation of a Christian, 
whose heart is warm with these prospects. 

1. When the visions of the Lord were closing upon 
John, the beloved disciple, in the island of Patmos, 
it is observable, that he who gave him that revela- 
tion, even Jesus, the faithful and true witness, con- 
cludes with those lively and important words: "He 
who testifieth these things, saith, Surely I come quick- 
ly:" and John answers, with the greatest readiness 
and pleasure, "Amen, even so come, Lord Jesus," 
Rev. xxii. 20. Come as thou hast said, surely, and 
quickly! — And remember, Christian, whoever you 
are, now reading these words, your divine Lord 
speaks in the same language to you : " Behold, I come 
quickly." Yes, very quickly will he come by death, 
to turn the key, to open the door of the grave for 
thine admittance thither, and to lead thee through it 
into the now unknown regions of the invisible world. 
Nor is it long before the Judge, who " standeth at the 
door," James v. 9, will appear also for the universal 


judgment: and though perhaps not only scores but 
hundreds of years may lie between that period and 
the present moment, yet it is but a very small point 
of time to him, who views at once all the unmea- 
surable ages of a past and future eternity. " A thou- 
sand years are with him but as one day, and one day 
as a thousand years," 2 Pet. hi. 8. In both these 
senses then does he come quickly ; and I trust you 
can answer, with a glad Jimen, that the warning is 
not terrible or unpleasant to your ears, but rather 
that his coming, his certain, his speedy coming is the 
object of your delightful hope, and of your longing 

2. I am sure it is reasonable it should be so ; and 
yet perhaps nature, fond of life, and unwilling to 
part with a long known abode, to enter on a state to 
which it is entirely a stranger, may recoil from the 
thoughts of dying ; or struck with the awful pomp 
of an expiring and dissolving world, may look on 
the judgment-day with some mixture of terror. And 
therefore, my dear brother in the Lord, (for such I 
can now esteem you,) I would reason with you a 
little on this head, and would entreat you to look 
more attentively on this solemn object, which will, I 
trust, grow less disagreeable to you, as it is more fa- 
miliarly viewed. Nay, I hope, that instead of start- 
ing back from it, you will rather spring forward to- 
wards it with joy and delight. 

3. Think, Christian, when Christ comes to call 
you away by death, he comes — to set you at liberty 
from your present sorrows — to deliver you from your 
struggles with remaining corruption — and to receive 
you to dwell with himself in complete holiness and 
joy. You shall " be absent from the body, and pre- 
sent with the Lord," 2 Cor. v. 8. 

4. He will indeed call you away from this world ; 
but, what is this world that you should be fond of 
it, and cling to it with so much eagerness? How low 
are all those enjoyments that are peculiar to it; and 
how many its vexations, its snares, and its sorrows ! 
Review your pilgrimage thus far, and though you 


must acknowledge, that "goodness and mercy have 
followed you all the days of your life," Psal. xxiii. 
6, yet has not that very mercy itself planted some 
thorns in your path, and given you some wise and 
necessary, yet painful, intimations, that " this is not 
your rest?" Mic. ii. 10. Review the monuments of 
your withered joys, of your blasted hopes; if there 
be yet any monuments of them remaining, more than 
a mournful remembrance they have left behind in 
your afflicted heart. Look upon the graves that have 
swallowed up many of your dearest and most amia- 
ble friends, perhaps in the very bloom of life, and in 
the greatest intimacy of your converse with them; 
and reflect, that if you continue a few years more, 
death will renew its conquests at your expense, and 
devour the most precious of those that yet survive. 
View the living as well as the dead; behold the state 
of human nature, under the many grievous marks of 
its apostasy from God; and say, whether a wise and 
good man would wish to continue always here. 

Methinks, were I myself secure from being reach- 
ed by any of the arrows that fly around me, I could 
not but mourn to see the wounds that are given by 
them, and to hear the groans of those that are continu- 
ally falling under them. The diseases and calamities 
of mankind are so many, and, what is most grievous 
of all, the distempers of their minds are so various and 
so threatening, that the world appears almost like an 
hospital ; and a man, whose heart is. tender, is ready 
to feel his spirits broken, as he walks through it, and 
surveys the sad scene; especially when he sees how 
little he can do for the recovery of those whom he 
pities. Are you a Christian, and does it not pierce your 
heart to see how human nature is sunk in vice and 
in shame, to see with what amazing insolence some 
are making themselves openly vile, and how the 
name of Christ is dishonoured by many too that call 
themselves his people? to see the unlawful deeds and 
filthy practices of them that live ungodly, and to be- 
hold, at the same time, the infirmities at least, and 
irregularities, of those concerning whom we have 



better hopes? and do you not wish to escape from 
such a world, where a righteous and compassionate 
soul must be vexed from day to day by so many 
spectacles of sin and misery? 2 Pet. ii. 8. 

5. Yea, to come nearer home; do you not feel 
something within you which you long to quit, and 
which would embitter even Paradise itself? some- 
thing, which, were it to continue, would grieve and 
distress you even in the society of the blessed? Do 
you not feel a remainder of indwelling sin; the sad 
consequence of the original revolt of our nature from 
God? Are you not struggling every day with some 
residue of corruption, or at least mourning on account 
of the weakness of your graces? Do you not often 
find your spirits dull and languid when you would 
desire to raise them to the greatest fervour in the ser- 
vice of God? Do you not find your heart too often 
insensible of the richest instances of his love, and 
your hands feeble in his service, even when " to will 
is present with you?" Rom. vii. 18. Does not your 
life, in its best days and hours, appear a low, unpro- 
fitable thing, when compared with what you are sen- 
sible it ought to be, and with what you wish that it 
were ? Are you not frequently, as it were, stretching 
the pinions of the mind, and saying, "0 that I had 
wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at 
rest?" Psal. lv. 6. 

6. Should you not then rejoice in the thought that 
Jesus comes to deliver you from these complaints? 
That he comes to answer your wishes, and to fulfil 
the largest desires of your hearts; those desires that 
he himself has inspired? That he comes to open 
upon you a world of purity, and joy, of active, ex- 
alted, and unwearied services? 

7. Christian, how often have you cast a longing 
eye towards those happy shores, and wished to pass 
the sea, the boisterous, unpleasant, dangerous sea, 
that separates you from them? When your Lord 
has condescended to make you a short visit in his 
ordinances on earth, how have you blest the time and 
the place, and pronounced it, amidst any other disad- 


vantages of situation, to be the very gate of heaven? 
Gen. xxviii. 17. And is it so delightful to behold 
this gate, and will it not be much more so to enter 
into it? Is it so delightful to receive the visits of Je- 
sus for an hour, and will it not be infinitely more so 
to dwell with him for ever? " Lord !" may you well 
say, " when I dwell with thee, I shall dwell in holi- 
ness, for thou thyself art holiness; I shall dwell in 
love, for thou thyself art love; I shall dwell in joy, 
for thou art the fountain of joy," as, " thou art in 
the Father, and the Father in thee," John xvii. 21. 
Bid welcome to his approach, therefore, to take you 
at your word, and to fulfil to you that saying of his, 
on which your soul has so often rested with heavenly 
peace and pleasure ; " Father, I will, that they whom 
thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that 
they may behold my glory, which thou hast given 
me," John xvii. 24. 

8. Surely you may say in this view, " The sooner 
Christ comes the better." What though the residue 
of your days be cut off in the midst? what though 
you leave many expected pleasures in life untasted, 
and many schemes unaccomplished ? Is it not enough 
that what is taken from a mortal life shall be added 
to a glorious eternity ; and that you shall spend those 
days and years in the presence and service of Christ 
in heaven which you might otherwise have spent 
with him and for him in the imperfect enjoyments 
and labours of earth? 

9. But your prospects reach, not only beyond death, 
but beyond the separate state. For with regard to 
his final appearance to judgment, our Lord says, 
Surely I come quickly, in the sense illustrated before : 
and so it will appear to us, if we compare this inter- 
val of time with the blissful eternity which is to suc- 
ceed it; and probably if we compare it with those 
ages which have already passed, since the sun began 
to measure out to earth its days and its years. And 
will you not here also sing your part in the joyful 
anthem, " Amen, even so come, Lord Jesus!" 


10. It is true, Christian, it is an awful day: a day 
in which nature shall be thrown into a confusion as 
yet unknown. No earthquake, no eruption of burn- 
ing mountains, no desolations of cities by devouring 
flames, or of countries by overflowing rivers or seas, 
can give any just emblem of that dreadful day: when 
" the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved," as 
well " as the earth and all that is therein, shall be 
burnt up;" 2 Pet. iii. 10 — 12, when all nature shall 
flee away in amazement " before the face of the uni- 
versal Judge," Rev. xx. 11, and there shall be a 
great cry, far beyond what was known in the land 
of Egypt, when " there was not a house in which 
there was not one dead," Exod. xii. 30. Your flesh 
may be ready to tremble at the view ; yet your spirit 
must surely rejoice in God your Saviour, Luke i. 47. 
You may justly say, "Let this illustrious day come, 
even with all its horrors!" Yea, like the Christians 
described by the apostle, 2 Pet. iii. 12, you may be 
looking for, and hasting to that day of terrible bright- 
ness and universal doom. For your Lord will then 
come to vindicate the justice of those proceedings 
which have been in many instances so much obscured, 
and because they have been obscured have been also 
blasphemed. He will come to display his magnifi- 
cence, descending from heaven " with a shout, with 
the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of 
God," 1 Thess. iv. 16, taking his seat upon a throne 
infinitely exceeding that of earthly, or even of celes- 
tial princes, clothed with " his Father's glory and his 
own," Luke ix. 26, surrounded with a numberless 
host of " shining attendants," when " coming to be 
glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that 
believe," 2 Thess. i. 10. His enemies shall also be 
produced to grace his triumph ; the serpent shall be 
seen there rolling in the dust, and trodden under foot 
by him and by all his servants: those who once con- 
demned him shall tremble at his presence; and those 
who bowed the knee before him in profane mockery 
shall, in wild despair, call to the mountains to fall 


upon them, and to the rocks to hide them, from the 
face of that Lamb of God," Rev. vi. 16, whom they 
once led away to the most inhuman slaughter. 

11. Christian, does not your loyal heart bound at 
the thought? and are you not ready, even while you 
read these lines, to begin the victorious shout in 
which you are then to join? He justly expects that 
your thoughts should be greatly elevated and im- 
pressed with the views of his triumph : but at the 
same time he permits you to remember your own 
personal share in the joy and glory of that blessed 
day: and even now he has the view before him of 
what his power and love shall then accomplish for 
your salvation. And what shall it not accomplish? 
He shall come to break the bars of the grave, and to 
re-animate your sleeping clay. Your bodies must 
indeed be laid in the dust, and be lodged there as a 
testimony of God's displeasure against sin; against 
the first sin that was ever committed, from the sad 
consequences of which the dearest of his children 
cannot be exempted. But you shall then have an 
ear to hear the voice of the Son of God, and an eye 
to behold the lustre of his appearance: and shall 
" shine forth like the sun," Matt. xiii. 43, arising in 
the clear heaven, " which is as a bridegroom coming 
out of his chamber," Psal. xix. 5. Your soul shall be 
new dressed to grace this high solemnity; and be 
clothed, not with the rags of mortality, but with the 
robes of glory; for "he shall change this vile body, 
to fashion it like his own glorious body," Phil. iii. 
21. And when you are thus royally arrayed, he 
shall confer public honours on you, and on all his 
people, before the assembled world. You may now 
perhaps be loaded with infamy, called by reproach- 
ful names, and charged with crimes, or with views 
which your very soul abhors; but he will then " bring 
forth your righteousness as the light," Psal. xxviii. 6, 
and "your salvation as a lamp that burnetii," Isa. Ixii. 
1. Though you have been dishonoured by men, you 
shall be acknowledged by God; and though treated 
as " the filth of the world, and the otfscouring of all 



things," 1 Cor. iv. 1 3, he will show that he regards 
you " as his treasure, in the day that he makes up his 
jewels," Mai. hi. 17. When he shall "put away all 
the wicked of the earth like dross," Psal. cxix. 119, 
you shall be pronounced righteous in that full assem- 
bly ; and though indeed you have broken the divine 
law, and might in strict justice have been condemned, 
yet being clothed with the righteousness of the great 
Redeemer, even " that righteousness which is of God 
by faith," Phil. hi. 9. justice itself shall acquit you, 
and join with mercy in "bestowing upon you a 
crown of life," 2 Tim. iv. 8. — Christ will " confess 
you before men and angels," Luke xii. 8. — will pro- 
nounce you " good and faithful servants, and call you 
to enter into the joy of your Lord," Matt. xxv. 21, 
he will speak of you with endearment, as his brethren, 
and will acknowledge the kindnesses which have 
been shown to you as if he had received them in his 
own person, Matt. xxv. 40. Yea, then shall you, 
Christian, who may perhaps have sat in some of the 
lowest places in our assemblies, though, it may be, 
none of the rich and great of the earth would conde- 
scend to look upon, or to speak to you, be called to 
be assessors with Christ on his judgment-seat, and to 
join with him in the sentence he shall pass on wick- 
ed men, and rebellious angels. 

12. Nor is it merely one day of glory and of tri- 
umph; but when the Judge arises and ascends to his 
Father's court, all the blessed shall ascend with him, 
and you among the rest : you shall ascend together 
with your Saviour, " to his Father and your Father, 
to his God and your God," John xx. 17. You shall 
go to make your appearance in the new Jerusalem, 
in those new shining forms that you have received, 
which will no doubt be attended with a correspon- 
dent improvement of mind; and take up your per- 
petual abode in that fulness of joy, with which you 
shall be filled and satisfied " in the presence of God," 
Psal. xvi. 11, upon the consummation of that happi- 
ness which the saints in the intermediate state have 
been wishing and waiting for. You shall go from 


the ruins of a dissolving world to " the new heaven 
and new earth, wherein righteousness for ever 
dwells," 2 Pet. iii. 13. There all the number of God's 
elect shall be accomplished, and the happiness of 
each shall be completed. The whole society shall be 
"presented before God as the bride, the Lamb's 
wife," Rev. xxi. 9, whom the eye of its celestial 
bridegroom shall survey with unutterable delight, 
and confess to be " without spot or wrinkle, or any 
such thing;" Eph. v. 27, its character and state being 
just what he originally designed it to be, when he 
first engaged to give himself for it, to " redeem it to 
God by his blood," Rev. v. 9. So shall you ever be 
with each other, and with the Lord; 1 Thess. iv. 17, 
and immortal ages shall roll away, and find you still 
unchanged; your happiness always the same, and 
your relish for it the same ; or rather ever growing, 
as your souls are approaching nearer and nearer to 
him, who is the source of happiness, and the centre 
of infinite perfection. 

13. And now, look around about upon earth, and 
single out, if you can, the enjoyments or the hopes, 
for the sake of which you would say, Lord, delay thy 
coming, or for the sake of which you any more should 
hesitate to express your longing for it, and to cry, 
"Even so come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!" 


blessed Lord ! my soul is enkindled with these 
views, and rises to thee in the flame, Judges xiii. 20. 
Thou hast testified thou comest quickly; and I re- 
peat my joyful assent. Amen, even so come, Lord 
Jesus, Rev. xxii. 20. Come, for I long to have done 
with this low life; to have done with its burdens, its 
sorrows, and its snares ! Come, for I long to ascend 
into thy presence, and to see the court thou art hold- 
ing above ! 

Blessed Jesus, death is transformed when I view 


it in this light. The king of terrors is seen no more 
as such, so near the King of glory and of grace. I 
hear with pleasure the sound of thy feet approaching 
still nearer and nearer: draw aside the veil whenever 
thou pleasest ! Open the bars of my prison, that my 
eager soul may spring forth to thee, and cast itself 
at thy feet ; at the feet of that Jesus, " whom having 
not seen, I love ; and in whom, though now I see 
thee not, yet believing, I rejoice with joy unspeakable 
and full of glory!" 1 Pet. 1. 8. " Thou, Lord, shalt 
show me the path of life: 77 thine hand shall guide 
me to thy blissful abode, where there is fulness of 
joy, and rivers of everlasting pleasure,' 7 Psal. xvi. 11. 
Thou shalt assign me a habitation with thy faithful 
servants, whose separate spirits are now living with 
thee, while their bodies sleep in the dust. Many of 
them have been my companions in thy laborious 
work, and "in the patience and tribulation of thy 
kingdom; 77 Rev. i. 9, my dear companions, and my 
brethren. show me, blessed Saviour, how glorious 
and how happy thou hast made them ! Show me to 
what new forms of better life thou hast conducted 
them, whom we call the dead; in what nobler and 
more extensive services thou hast employed them, 
that I may praise thee better than I now can, for thy 
goodness to them. And, give me to share with 
them in their blessings and their services, and to raise 
a song of grateful love, like that which they are 
breathing forth before thee ! 

Yet, my blessed Redeemer, even there will my 
soul be aspiring to a yet nobler and more glorious 
hope, and from this as yet unknown splendour and 
felicity shall I be drawing new arguments to look and 
long for the day of thy final appearance. There 
shall I long more ardently than I now do, to see thy 
conduct vindicated, and thy triumph displayed; to see 
the dust of thy servants reanimated, and death, the 
last of their enemies and of thine, swallowed up in 
victory, 1 Cor. xv. 26, 54. I shall long for that supe- 
rior honour that thou intendest me, and that complete 
bliss to which the whole body of thy people shall be 


conducted. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, will 
mingle itself with the songs of Paradise, and sound 
from the tongues of all the millions of thy saints, 
whom thy grace has transplanted thither. 

In the mean time, my divine Master, accept the 
homage which a grateful heart now pays thee, in a 
sense of the glorious hopes with which thou hast in- 
spired it ! It is thou that hast put this joy into it, 
and hast raised my soul to this glorious ambition ; 
whereas I might otherwise have now been grovelling 
in the lowest trifles of time and sense, and been look- 
ing with horror on that hour which is now the object 
of my most ardent wishes. 

be with me always, even to the end of this 
mortal life ; and give me, while waiting for thy sal- 
vation, to be doing thy commandments. May " my 
loins be girded about, and my lamp burning," Luke 
xii. 35, and mine ears be still watchful for the bless- 
ed signal of thine arrival; that my glowing soul 
may with pleasure spring to meet thee, and be 
strengthened by death to bear those visions of glory, 
under the ecstasies of which feeble mortality would 
now expire ! 




Reflections on the sincerity with which the preceding advices have 
been given, 1. The author is desirous that (if Providence permit) 
he may assist the Christian to die honourably and comfortably, 2, 
3. With this view it is advised, (1.) To rid the mind of all earth- 
ly cares, 4. (2.) To renew the humiliation of the soul before 
God, and its application to the blood of Christ, 5. (3.) To exer- 
cise patience under bodily pains and sorrows, 6. (4.) At leaving 
the world, to bear an honourable testimony to religion, 7. (5.) To 
give a solemn charge to surviving friends, 8. Especially recom- 
mending faith in Christ, 9. (6.) To keep the promises of God in 
view, 10, 11. And, (7.) To commit the departing spirit to God, 
in the genuine exercises of gratitude and repentance, faith and 
charity, 12, which are exemplified in the concluding meditation 
and prayer. 

1. Thus, my dear reader, I have endeavoured to 
lead you through a variety of circumstances; and 
those not fancied and imaginary, but such as do in- 
deed occur in the human and Christian life. And I 
can truly and cheerfully say, that I have marked out 
to you the path which I myself have trod, and in 
which it is my desire still to go on. I have ventured 
my own everlasting interests on that foundation on 
which I have directed you to adventure yours. What 
I have recommended as the grand business of your 
life, I desire to make the business of my own ; and 
the most considerable enjoyments which I expect or 
desire in the remaining days of my pilgrimage on 
earth, are such as I have directed you to seek, and 
endeavoured to assist you in attaining. Such love to 
God, such constant activity in his service, such plea- 
surable views of what lies beyond the grave, appear 
to me (God is my witness,) a felicity incomparably 
beyond any thing else which can offer itself to our 
affection and pursuit: and I would not for ten thou- 
sand worlds resign my share in them, or consent even 


to the suspension of the delights which they afford, 
during the remainder of my abode here. 

2. I would humbly hope, through the divine bless- 
ing, that the hours you have spent in the review of 
these plain things may have turned to some profit- 
able account, and that in consequence of what you 
have read, you have either been brought into the 
way of life and peace, or been induced to quicken 
your pace in it. Most heartily should I rejoice in 
being further useful to you, and that even to the last. 
Now there is one scene remaining; a scene through 
which you must infallibly pass, which has something 
in it so awful, that I cannot but attempt doing a little 
to assist you in it; I mean the dark valley of the 
shadow of death. I would earnestly wish, that for 
the credit of your profession, the comfort of your 
own soul, and the joy and edification of your sur- 
viving friends, you might die not only safely, but 
honourably too : and therefore I would offer you a 
few parting advices. I am sensible indeed that Pro- 
vidence may determine the circumstances of your 
death in such a manner as that you may have no 
opportunity of acting upon the hints I now give you. 
Some unexpected accident from without, or from 
within, may, as it were, whirl you to heaven before 
you are aware ; and you may find yourself so sud- 
denly there, that it may seem a translation rather 
than a death. Or it is possible the force of a distem- 
per may affect your understanding in such a manner 
that you may be quite insensible of the circumstances 
in which you are; and so your dissolution (though 
others may see it visibly and certainly approaching,) 
may be as great a surprise to you as if you died in 
full health. 

3. But as it is, on the whole, probable you may 
have a more sensible passage out of time into eter- 
nity; and as much may, in various respects, depend 
on your dying behaviour, give me leave to propose 
some plain directions with relation to it, to be prac- 
tised, if God give you opportunity, and remind you 
of them. It may not be improper to look over the 


twenty-ninth chapter again when you find the symp- 
toms of any threatening disorder: and I the rather 
hope, that what I say may be useful to you, as me- 
thinks, I find myself disposed to address you with 
something of that, peculiar tenderness which we feel 
for a dying friend; to whom, as we expect that we 
shall speak to him no more, we send out, as it were, 
all our hearts in every word. 

4. I would advise then, in the first place, " that, 
as soon as possible, you would endeavour to get rid 
of all further care with regard to your temporal con- 
cerns, by settling them in time, in as reasonable and 
Christian a manner as you can." I could wish, there 
may be nothing of that kind to hurry your mind 
when you are least able to bear it, or to distress or 
divide those who come after you. Do that which, 
in the presence of God, you judge most equitable, 
and which you verily believe, will be most pleasing 
to him. Do it in as prudent and effectual a manner 
as you can: and then consider the world as a place 
you have quite done with, and its affairs as nothing 
further to you, more than to one actually dead; unless 
as you may do any good to its inhabitants while yet 
you continue among them; and may, by any circum- 
stance in your last actions or words in life leave a 
blessing behind you to those who have been your 
friends and fellow-travellers, while you have been 
dispatching that journey through it, which you are 
now finishing. 

5. That you may be the more at leisure, and the 
better prepared for this, " enter into some serious re- 
view of your own state, and endeavour to put your 
soul into as fit a posture as possible, for your solemn 
appearance before God." For a solemn thing indeed 
it is to go into his immediate presence ! to stand be- 
fore him, not as a supplicant at the throne of his 
grace, but at his bar as a separate spirit, whose time 
of probation is over, and whose eternal state is to be 
immediately determined. Renew your humiliation 
before God for the imperfection of your life, though 
it has in the main been devoted to his service. Re- 


new your application to the mercies of God, as pro- 
mised in the covenant of grace, and to the blood of 
Christ, as the blessed channel in which they flow. 
Resign yourself entirely to the divine disposal and 
conduct, as willing to serve God, either in this world 
or the other, as he shall see fit. And sensible of 
your sinfulness on the one hand, and of the divine 
wisdom and goodness on the other, summon up all 
the fortitude of your soul to bear, as well as you can, 
whatever his afflicting hand may further lay upon 
you, and to receive the last stroke of it, as one who 
would obtain the most entire subjection to the great 
and good Father of spirits. 

6. Whatever you suffer, "endeavour to show your- 
self an example of patience." Let that amiable grace 
"have its perfect work:" James i. 4, and since it 
has so little more to do, let it close the scene nobly. 
Let there not be a murmuring word ; and that there 
may not, watch against every repining thought; and 
when you feel any thing of that kind arising, look by 
faith upon a dying Saviour, and ask your own heart, 
"Was not his cross much more painful than the bed on 
which I lie ? Was not his situation among blood-thirsty 
enemies infinitely more terrible than mine amidst the 
tenderness and care of so many affectionate friends? 
Did not the heavy load of my sins press him in a 
much more overwhelming manner than I am pressed 
by the load of these afflictions? and yet he bore all 
f as a Lamb' that is brought ' to the slaughter."' 
Isa. liii. 7. Let the remembrance of his sufferings 
be a means to sweeten yours: yea, let it cause you 
to rejoice, when you are called to bear the cross for 
a little while, before you wear the crown. Count it 
all joy that you have an opportunity yet once more 
of honouring God by your patience, which is now 
acting its last part, and will in a few days, perhaps 
in a few hours, be superseded by complete everlast- 
ing blessedness. And I am willing to hope, that in 
these views you will not only suppress all passionate 
complaints, but that your mouth will be filled with 
the praises of God; and that you will be speaking 


to those that are about you, not only of his justice, 
but of his goodness too. So that you will be enabled 
to communicate your inward joys in such a manner, 
as may be a lively and edifying comment upon those 
words of the apostle, " Tribulation worketh patience ; 
and patience experience; and experience hope; even 
a hope which maketh not ashamed, while the love 
of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy 
Ghost, which is given unto us," Rom. v. 3 — 5. 

7. And now, my dear friend, now is the time when 
it is especially expected from you that you bear an 
honourable testimony to religion. Tell those that 
are about you, as well as you can, (for you will never 
be able fully to express it,) what comfort and sup- 
port you have found in it. Tell them, how it has 
brightened the darkest circumstances of your life; 
tell them, how it now reconciles you to the near 
views of death. Your words will carry with them a 
peculiar weight at such a season: there will be a 
kind of eloquence, even in the infirmities with which 
you are struggling, while you give them utterance; 
and you will be heard with attention, with tender- 
ness, with credit. And therefore, when the time of 
your departure is at hand, with unaffected freedom 
breathe out your joy, if you then feel (as I hope you 
will) a holy joy and delight in God, breathe out, 
however, your inward peace and serenity of mind, 
if you be then peaceful and serene : others will mark 
it, and be encouraged to tread the steps which lead 
to so happy an end. Tell them what you feel of 
the vanity of the world ; and they may learn to re- 
gard it less: tell them what you feel of the substan- 
tial supports of the gospel ; and they may learn to 
value it more: for they cannot but know that they 
must lie down upon a dying bed too, and must then 
need all the relief which the gospel itself can give 

8. And, to enforce the conviction the more, "give 
a solemn charge to those that are about you. that 
they spend their lives in the service of God, and go- 
vern themselves by the principles of real religion." 


You may remember, that Joshua and David, and 
other good men did so, when they perceived that the 
days drew near in which they should die. And you 
know not how the admonitions of a dying friend, or 
(as it may be with respect to some,) of a dying pa- 
rent, may impress those who may have disregarded 
what you and others may have said to them before. 
At least, make the trial; and die labouring to glorify 
God, and to save souls, and generously to sow the 
seeds of goodness and happiness in a world where 
you have no more harvests to reap. Perhaps they 
may spring up in a plentiful crop when the clods of 
the valley are covering your body ; but if not, God 
will approve it; and the angels that wait around 
your bed to receive your departing soul will look 
upon each other with marks of approbation in their 
countenance, and own that this is to expire like a 
Christian, and to make a glorious improvement of 

9. And, in this last address to your fellow-mortals, 
whoever they are that Providence brings near you, 
" be sure that you tell them how entirely and how 
cheerfully your hopes and dependence in this season of 
the last extremity are fixed, not upon your own merits 
and obedience, but on what the great Redeemer has 
done and suffered for sinners." Let them see that 
you die, as it were at the foot of the cross: nothing 
will be so comfortable to yourself, nothing so edify- 
ing to them. Let the name of Jesus, therefore, be 
in your mouth, while you are able to speak; and 
when you can speak no longer, let it be in your heart, 
and endeavour that the last act of your soul, while 
it continues in the body, may be an act of humble 
faith in Christ. " Come unto God by him: enter into 
that which is within the veil, as with the blood of 
sprinkling fresh upon you." It is an awful thing for 
such a sinner, (as you, my Christian friend, with all 
the virtues the world may have admired, know your- 
self to be) to stand before that infinitely pure and 
holy Being, who has seen all your ways, and all your 
heart, and has a perfect knowledge of every mixture 


of imperfection, which has attended the best of your 
duties ; but venture in that way, and you will find it 
both safe and pleasant. 

10. Once more: " To give you comfort in a dying 
hour, and to support your feeble steps while you are 
travelling through this dark and painful way, take the 
word of God as a staff in your hand." Let books 
and mortal friends now do their last office for you. 
Call, if you can, some experienced Christian, who 
has felt the power of the word of God upon his own 
heart; and let him bring the Scripture, and turn you 
to some of those precious promises, which have been 
the food and rejoicing of his own soul. It is with 
this view, that I may carry the good office I am now 
engaged in, as far as possible, I shall here give you 
a collection of a few such admirable scriptures, each 
of them infinitely " more valuable than thousands of 
gold and silver," Psal. cxix. 72. And to convince 
you of the degree in which I esteem them, 1 will 
take the freedom to add, that I desire they may (if 
God give an opportunity) be read over to me, as I lie 
on my dying bed, with short intervals between them, 
that I may pause upon each, and renew something 
of that delightful relish, which, I bless God, I have 
often found in them. May your soul and mine be 
then composed to a sacred silence (whatever be the 
commotion of animal nature) while the voice of God 
speaks to us in a language which he spoke to his 
servants of old, or in which he instructed them how 
they should speak to him, in circumstances of the 
greatest extremity ! 

11. Can any more encouragement be wanting, 
when he says, " Fear not, for I am with thee; be not 
dismayed, for I am thy God : I will strengthen thee, 
yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee, with 
the right hand of my righteousness," Isa. xli. 10. 
And " he is not a man that he should lie, or the 
son of man that he should repent: hath he said, 
and shall he not do it ? or hath he spoken, and shall 
he not make it good?" Num. xxiii. 19. — " The Lord 
is my light, and my salvation, whom shall I fear? 


The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I 
be afraid?" Psal. xxvii. 1. — "This God is our God 
for ever and ever : he will be our guide even unto 
death," Psal xlviii. 14. — "Therefore though I walk 
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will 
fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy 
staff they comfort me," Psal. xxiii. 4. — " I have wait- 
ed for thy salvation, Lord," Gen. xlix. 18. — " con- 
tinue thy loving kindness unto them that know thee, 
and thy righteousness to the upright in heart ! For 
with thee is the fountain of life ; in thy light shall we 
see light," Psal. xxxvi. 9, 10. — " Thou wilt show me 
the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy, at 
thy right hand there are pleasures for ever more," 
Psal. xvi. 11. — " As for me, I shall behold thy face in 
righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, 
with thy likeness," Psal. xvii. 15. — "For I know in 
whom I have believed, and am persuaded, that he is 
able to keep what I have committed unto him until 
that day," 2 Tim. i. 12. — "Therefore my heart is glad, 
and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in 
hope," Psal. xvi. 9. — " For if we believe that Jesus 
died, and rose again; those also that sleep in Jesus 
will God bring with him," 1 Thess. iv. 14. — " I give 
unto my sheep eternal life," said Jesus the good Shep- 
herd, " and they shall never perish, neither shall any 
pluck them out of my hand," John x. 28. — " This is 
the will of him that sent me, that every one that be- 
lie veth on me should have everlasting life; and I will 
raise him up at the last day," John vi. 40. — " Let 
not your heart be troubled ; ye believe in God, be- 
lieve also in me. In my Father's house are many 
mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you : 
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and 
prepare a place for you, I will come again, and re- 
ceive yon to myself; that where I am, there ye may 
be also," John xiv. 1, 2, 3. — " Go, tell my brethren, 
I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to 
my God and your God," John xx. 17. — "Father, I 
will, that those whom thou hast given me, be with 
me where I am, that they mav behold my glory which 



thou hast given me; that the love wherewith thou 
hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them," 
John xvii. 24. 24. — " He that testifieth these things, 
saith, surely I come quickly. Amen, even so come, 
Lord Jesus," Rev. xxii. 20. — " death, where is thy 
sting? grave where is thy victory? Thanks be to 
God who giveth us the victory through our Lord 
Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. xv. 55, 57. 

12. Thus may that God, " who knows the souls of 
his children in all their adversities," Ps. xxxi. 7, and 
in whose sight " the death of his saints is precious," 
Psal. cxvi. 15, cheer and support you and me in those 
last extremities of nature ! May he add us to the 
happy number of those who have been more than 
conquerors in death ! and may he give us those sup- 
plies of his Spirit, which may enable us to pour out 
our departing souls in such sentiments as those I 
would now suggest, though we should be no longer 
able to utter words, or to understand them if they 
were read to us ! Let us at least review them with 
all proper affections now, and lay up one prayer 
more for that awful moment ! that this, and all 
we have ever offered with regard to it, may then 
" come in remembrance before God!" Acts x. 4, 31. 


thou supreme Ruler of the visible and invisible 
worlds! thou Sovereign of life and of death; of earth 
and of heaven ! Blessed be thy name, I have often 
been taught to seek thee. And now once more do I 
pour out my soul, my departing soul, unto thee. Bow 
down thy gracious ear, God, and let my cry come 
before thee with acceptance ! 

The hour is come when thou wilt separate me 
from this world, with which I have been so long and 
so familiarly acquainted, and lead me to another as 
yet unknown. Enable me, I beseech thee, to make 
the exchange as becomes a child of Abraham, who 


being " called of thee to receive an inheritance, obey- 
ed, and went out, though he knew not particularly, 
whither he went," Heb. xi. 8, as becomes a child of 
God, who knows that, through sovereign grace, "it 
is his Father's good pleasure to give him the king- 
dom," Luke xii. 32. 

I acknowledge, Lord, the justice of that sen- 
tence by which I am expiring; and own thy wisdom 
and goodness in appointing my journey through this 
gloomy vale which is now before me. Help me to 
turn it into the happy occasion of honouring thee, 
and adorning my profession! and I will bless the 
pangs by which thou art glorified, and this mortal 
and sinful part of my nature dissolved. 

Gracious Father, I would not quit this earth of 
thine, and this house of clay in which I have sojourn- 
ed during my abode upon the face of it, without my 
grateful acknowledgments to thee, for all that abun- 
dant goodness which thou hast caused to pass before 
me here, Exod. xxxiii. 19. With my dying breath 
I bear witness to thy faithful care. I have wanted 
no good thing, Psal. xxxiv. 10. I thank thee, my 
God, that this guilty, forfeited, unprofitable life was 
so long spared; that it has been still maintained by 
such a rich variety of thy bounty. I thank thee that 
thou hast made this beginning of my existence so 
pleasant to me. I thank thee for the mercies of my 
days and nights, of my months and years, which are 
now come to their period: I thank thee for the mer- 
cies of my infancy, and for those of my riper age ; 
for all the agreeable friends which thou hast given 
me in this house of my pilgrimage, the living and 
the dead; for all the help I have received from others, 
and for all the opportunities which thou hast given 
me of being helpful to the bodies or souls of my bre- 
thren of mankind. Surely goodness and mercy have 
followed me all the days of my life, Ps. xxiii. 6, and 
I have reason to rise a thankful guest from the va- 
rious and pleasant entertainments with which my 
table has been furnished by thee. Nor shall I have t 
reason to repine or to grieve, at quitting them, for, 


my God, are thy bounties exhausted? I know- 
that they are not. I will not wrong thy goodness 
and thy faithulness so much as to imagine, that be- 
cause I am going from this earth, I am going from 
happiness. I adore thy mercy, that thou hast taught 
me to entertain nobler views through Jesus thy Son. 

1 bless thee with all the powers of my nature, that 
I ever heard of his name, and of his death: and 
would fain exert a more vigorous act of thankful 
adoration than in this broken state I am capable of, 
while I am extolling thee for the riches of thy grace 
manifested in him; for his instructions and his exam- 
ple, for his blood and his righteousness, and for that 
blessed Spirit of thine which thou hast given me, to 
turn my sinful heart unto thyself, and to bring me 
into the bonds of thy covenant; of that covenant, 
which is " ordered in all things and sure," 2 Sam. 
xxiii. 5, and which this death, though now separat- 
ing my soul from my body, shall never be able to 

I bless thee, Lord, that I am not dying in an un- 
regenerate and impenitent state; but that thou didst 
graciously awaken and convince me; that thou didst 
renew and sanctify my heart, and didst by thy good 
Spirit work in it an unfeigned faith, and real repent- 
ance, and the beginning of a divine life. I thank thee 
for ministers and gospel ordinances; I thank thee for 
my sabbaths and my sacrament-days; for the week- 
ly and monthly refreshments which they gave me: 
I thank thee for the fruits of Canaan, which were 
sent me in the wilderness, and are now sent me on 
the brink of Jordan. I thank thee for thy blessed 
word, and for those exceeding rich and precious 
promises of it, which now lie as a cordial warm 
at my heart in this chilling hour; promises of support 
in death, and of glory beyond it, and of the resur- 
rection of my body to everlasting life. my God, I 
firmly believe them all, great and wonderful as they 
are, and am "waiting for the accomplishment of them 
through Jesus Christ; in whom they are all yea and 
amen," 2 Cor. i. 20. " Remember thy word unto thy 


servant on which thou hast caused me to hope!" 
Psal. cxix. 49. I covenanted with thee not for world- 
ly enjoyments, which thy love taught me compara- 
tively to despise ; but for eternal life, as the gift of 
thy free grace through "Jesus Christ my Lord," 
Rom. vi. 23, and now permit me, in his name, to 
enter my humble claim to it! Permit me to consign 
this departing spirit into thine hand; for thou hast 
redeemed it, Lord God of truth! Psal. xxxi. 5. 
" I am thine, save me," Psal. cxix. 94, and make me 
happy ! 

But may I indeed presume to say, I am thine? 
God, now I am standing on the borders of both worlds; 
now I view things as in the light of thy presence and 
of eternity; how unworthy do I appear, that I should 
be taken to dwell with thy angels and saints in glo- 
ry ! Alas, I have reason to look back with deep hu- 
miliation, on a poor unprofitable, sinful life, in which 
I have daily been deserving to be cast into hell. But 
I have this one comfortable reflection, that I have 
fled to the cross of Christ ; and I now renew my ap- 
plication to it. To think of appearing before God 
in such an imperfect righteousness as my own, were 
ten thousand times worse than death. No, Lord, I 
come unto thee as a sinner; but as a sinner who 
hath believed in thy Son for pardon and life : I fall 
down before thee as a guilty polluted wretch ; but 
thou hast made him to be unto thy people for wis- 
dom and righteousness, for sanctification and redemp- 
tion, 1 Cor. i. 30. Let me have my lot among the 
followers of Jesus ! Treat me as thou treatest those 
who are his friends and his brethren ! for thou know- 
est my soul has loved him, and trusted in him, and 
solemnly ventured itself on the security of his gospel. 
And "I know in whom I have believed," 2 Tim. i. 
12. The infernal lion may attempt to dismay me in 
this awful passage : but 1 rejoice that I am in the 
hands of the good Shepherd; John x. 11, 28, and I 
defy all my spiritual enemies, in a cheerful depen- 
dence on his faithful care. I lift up my eyes and my 
heart to him, who " was dead and is alive again ; 


and behold he lives for ever more, and hath the keys 
of death, and of the unseen world," Rev. i. 18. 
Blessed Jesus, I die by thine hand, and I fear no 
harm from the hand of a Saviour ! I fear not that 
death which is allotted to me by the hand of my 
dearest Lord, who himself died to make it safe and 
happy. I come, Lord, I come, not only with a wil- 
ling, but with a joyful consent. I thank thee that 
thou rememberest me for good; that thou art break- 
ing my chains, and calling me to " the glorious liber- 
ty of the children of God," Rom. viii. 21. I thank 
thee, that thou wilt no longer permit me to live at a 
distance from thine arms; but after this long absence, 
wilt have me at home, at home for ever. 

My feeble nature faints in the view of that glory, 
which is now dawning upon me ; but thou knowest 
gracious Lord, how to let it in upon my soul by 
just degrees, and to " make thy strength perfect in 
my weakness," 2 Cor. xii. 9. Once more, for the 
last time, would I look down on this poor world, 
which I am going to quit, and breathe out my dying 
prayer for its prosperity, and that of thy Church in it. 
I have loved it, Lord, as a living member of the 
body; and I love it to the last. I humbly beseech 
thee, therefore, that thou wilt guard it, and purify it, 
and unite it more and more ! Send down more of 
thy blessed Spirit upon it, even the Spirit of wisdom, 
of holiness, and of love; till in due time "the wil- 
derness be turned into a garden of the Lord," Isa. 
li. 3, and "all flesh shall see thy salvation!" Luke 
hi. 6. 

And as for me, bear me, my heavenly Father, 
on the wings of everlasting love, to that peaceful, 
that holy, that joyous abode, which thy mercy has 
prepared for me, and which the blood of my Redeem- 
er has purchased ! Bear me " to the general assem- 
bly and church of the first-born, to the innumerable 
company of angels, and to the spirits of just men 
made perfect," Heb. xii. 22, 23. And whatever this 
flesh may suffer, let my steady soul be delightfully 
fixed on that glory to which it is rising ! Let faith 


perform its last office in an honourable manner! Let 
my few remaining moments on earth be spent for thy 
glory; and so let me ascend with love in my heart, 
and praise on my faltering tongue, to the world where 
love and praise shall be complete ! Be this my last 
song on earth, which I am going to tune in heaven ; 
"Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be 
unto him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb 
for ever and ever/' Rev. v. 13. Amen. 


Deacidified using the Bookkeeper process 
Neutralizing agent: Magnesium Oxide 
Treatment Date: Oct. 2005 



1 1 1 Thomson Park Drive 
Cranberry Township. PA 16066